Commission updates Reporting Serious Incidents guidance for trustees

Guidance ties in with the Annual Return 2010

(Immediate Release - 25 June 2010)

The Charity Commission has updated its guidance on reporting serious incidents to coincide with the launch of the Annual Return 2010.

Trustees should report serious incidents to the Commission as soon as they become aware of them. They may delegate this to employees or other representatives of the charity, but the responsibility rests with the charity’s trustees.

  • The updated guidance explains in more detail the Commission’s role as regulator compared to that of other agencies. It also clarifies why trustees need to report cases of actual or suspected harm of beneficiaries to the Commission as well as to other agencies which have a regulatory interest.
  • The Commission has taken a more proportionate approach to reporting by allowing greater discretion for trustees in deciding whether to report low value fraud and theft, while giving a clear message that no fraud relating to or theft from a charity is acceptable.
  • The Commission expects trustees to act responsibly and appropriately in handling such incidents, to take reasonable steps to prevent them from happening again and to manage the risks to the charity.

As a matter of best practice the Commission recommends that trustees of all charities report any serious incidents to the Commission. However, for charities with an income over £25,000 the trustees must, as part of the Annual Return, sign a declaration that there are no serious incidents that they should have brought to our attention but have not. If they are unable to make this declaration then the Annual Return is not complete and they will have not met their legal responsibilities.

The updated guidance for trustees explains what incidents are serious and should be reported, how trustees can do this and what information the Commission needs. We have taken account of useful feedback received from the sector, and the updated guidance now also includes:

  • detailed clarification on reporting fraud, theft and other significant loss of funds or property;
  • further explanation of our role and regulatory remit and how this relates to other agencies;
  • guidance on how trustees can report to us when serious incidents occur regularly in their charity;
  • an updated section on safeguarding vulnerable beneficiaries with information on the Independent Safeguarding Authority and the Vetting and Barring Scheme, with links to other useful sources of information; and
  • clarification of confidentiality of serious incident reports

Reporting Serious Incidents guidance can be found on the Charity Commission’s website.


For further information on this story, please contact the press office.


Notes to Editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. See for further information or call our contact centre on 0845 300 0218.


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