Are you a member of the board of a charitable organisation? If your charity is registered with the Charities Commission, there are important changes to the Act which affect officers and which all charities should be aware of. If your organisation runs as an incorporated society it will be governed by a management committee or executive. The Charities Commission refers to those people as ‘officers’ and requires them to be noted on the Commission’s register with a certificate confirming they are fit to act as officers. New rules mean that you may have additional officers who need to be registered. The definition has been widened to include anyone in a ‘position to have significant influence’ over management or administration. This includes anyone who has significant influence over the charity’s: # management or administration # decision-making # expenditure of funds or resources # day-to-day operations. That may include a chief executive, treasurer/finance officer, staff who manage contracts for the charity and other staff who have access to, or control over, the charity’s funds. Anyone in the charity who could direct a personal benefit or a business advantage to themselves or anyone else (such as someone who could influence a contract going to a close business associate or family member) may also need to be certified. The changes came into effect on 24 February so when the charity next completes an Annual Return, you will need to certify any additional officers. A charity can be removed from the register (and therefore lose its tax status) for failing to meet its obligations under the Charities Act. This change doesn’t affect Charitable Trusts. The Trustees of a Charitable Trust remain the only officers which the Commission requires to be certified. If you aren’t sure whether there are additional people involved in your organisation who should be certified, come in and discuss this with us.
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