In the first of two new video interviews, Mindy Jhittay speaks to Thomson Reuters Practical Law about the requirement for charities to report serious incidents.

Charities are facing significant challenges in response to COVID-19 and the associated government restrictions. In the meantime, the Commission still requires charities to report serious incidents. These may of course relate to disruption causes by the coronavirus – including significant financial losses and/or effects on beneficiaries and service provision.

The Commission’s current guidance states:

“We appreciate that during the coronavirus pandemic the charity sector will face extremely demanding and ever-changing challenges. Charities’ primary interest, and ours, must be looking after the public and the communities that we serve.

“It is ultimately the responsibility of the charity trustees to continue to report serious incidents using our current guidelines, and we will continue to ask trustees to use their judgement in deciding whether an incident is significant in the context of their charity and should be reported to us.

“We will continue to prioritise those incidents that place individuals at risk, or incidents that have had a significant impact on a charity’s operations and therefore serious harm to the charity’s work.”

Whilst this video was recorded prior to recent events, it provides a useful summary of what charities need to know. Mindy explains how and when serious incident reports must be made and what precisely constitutes a “serious incident”. She also explains what sanctions can be imposed by the Charity Commission for failing to report a serious incident, as well as what steps the regulator might take if it has reason to believe mismanagement has occurred at a charity.

The video is available to view for free for the next seven days and can be accessed here. If you have any questions arising from the issues discussed in this interview, please contact Mindy using the contact details above.