Regulator warns too many serious incidents in charities still go unreported

The Charity Commission has updated its guidance on reporting serious incidents, in a bid to help charities report matters of concern as soon as possible after they occur.

The regulator has warned that there is ‘significant under-reporting’ of problems by charities, which puts organisations at potential risk of further harm, including damage to their reputation.

The new guide, entitled: ‘How to report a serious incident in your charity,’ replaces previous guidance and has been published following a consultation with charities.

The publication includes new tools, such as examples and checklists to make it clearer to trustees what they should and should not be reporting to the regulator.

It also aims to provide greater clarity on reporting incidents which have resulted in ‘significant financial loss.’

In attempting to simplify trustees’ obligations, the guide helpfully points out that there is no longer a requirement to send a report if a charity does not have a safeguarding policy in place, as this information is now captured through the annual return process.

Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communication at the Charity Commission, commented that “trustees cannot always foresee or prevent a serious event arising in their charity” but that they should “act responsibly and quickly” and that making an incident report to the Commission is “one of the most important ways trustees can demonstrate that they are doing just that”.

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