Charity Commission warning on reporting serious incidents

Fraud, terrorism links and abuse must all be listed in trustees' annual returns

The Charity Commission has warned charities that boards must get better at reporting serious injuries, as it launches updated guidance for trustees.

The guide encourages trustees, as a matter of best practice, to report serious incidents such as fraud, links to terrorism or abuse of vulnerable beneficiaries as soon as they are aware of them. Trustees are also obliged to list serious incidents in the charity's annual return.

However, according to Andrew Hind, chief executive of the commission, trustees are not always aware they should alert the commission even when the police have been called in.

"The commission would be very concerned if it became aware of a serious incident that was not reported by the charity at the time," he said. "Serious incidents have the potential to harm a charity's reputation or damage its ability to fundraise. By reporting serious incidents to the commission, trustees can demonstrate that they have dealt with them appropriately."

A commission spokeswoman said the commission had tried to make the updated guidance clearer, and had inserted a new section about how the commission handles confidential or sensitive information.

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