New rules on the disqualification of charity trustees and senior managers

The Charity Commission has announced that the remaining provisions of the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 will be coming into force on 1 February and 1 August 2018.


This has two main implications:

  • From 1 August 2018, the list of circumstances in which someone is automatically disqualified from charity trusteeship will be extended significantly. The list currently includes circumstances such as bankruptcy and unspent convictions for dishonesty and deception: from August it will also include unspent convictions for bribery, terrorism and money laundering and certain other circumstances such as being on the sex offenders register.
  • From 1 August 2018, anyone automatically disqualified from trusteeship will also be automatically disqualified from being a senior manager in a charity.

It is possible to apply for a waiver from disqualification, and from 1 February 2018 individuals who are not currently disqualified but will be after 1 August (either because of the new triggering circumstances or because they are a senior manager) will be able to apply for a waiver in advance of the rule change.

The Charity Commission has published the following new guidance:

  • Guidance for charities on the changes
  • Guidance for charity trustees and senior managers on the changes, which includes guidance on how to apply for a waiver
  • Guidance on the waiver process and appeals

Charities can prepare for the change by:

  • Identifying which posts are relevant senior manager posts: the Commission’s new guidance includes information on how to identify the positions that will be affected.
  • Ensuring that recruitment procedures for charities and senior managers will identify whether prospective appointees are disqualified. On 1 February the Charity Commission will be publishing a model declaration which prospective trustees and senior managers can be asked to sign, confirming that they are not disqualified.
  • Checking whether existing trustees and senior managers will be affected. The Commission suggests that existing trustees and senior managers should be asked to sign a declaration confirming they are not disqualified, which covers the new circumstances, before 1 August, and at regular intervals thereafter.

Where trustees and senior managers are affected, they should consider whether it would be appropriate to apply for a waiver.

A further change is that from 1 August, those disqualified from acting as a trustee or senior manager may not be involved in the control and administration of a corporate charity trustee.

If you would like further detail or advice, please speak to your usual BWB contact or to Alice Faure Walker or Thea Longley.

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of January 23, 2018.