Automatic disqualification rules: Charity Commission guidance published

New guidance for charities has been issued by the Commission on how to prepare for the changes to the automatic disqualification rules in force from 1 August 2018.

The new rules increase the number of legal reasons why a person may be automatically disqualified, to include being on the sex offenders register and certain unspent convictions - such as for terrorism or money laundering, and are applicable to:

  • Trustees; and
  • certain senior management positions - Chief Executive or equivalent, and Chief Finance Officer or equivalent.

With regard to the senior management positions, it should be noted that whether a role is affected by the rule changes depends on the function of that role rather than its title.

Therefore, all charities should check what senior management positions are affected, using the guidance on this point as a starting point, and then seeking legal advice if necessary. They should not presume that only the senior management positions with the titles of Chief Executive and Chief Finance Officer are affected.

Acting whilst disqualified will still continue be a criminal offence, and the right of disqualified people to apply for a waiver remains. Those who will become disqualified from acting as a result of the new rules on 1 August may apply for a waiver from 1 February 2018.

Guidance on how the Commission will make a decision about granting a waiver can be found in additional guidance issued by the Commission, How the Charity Commission assesses waiver applications and makes a decision.

The Commission has also issued guidance on the application of the new rules and the process to apply for waivers specifically for trustees and those in senior management positions who believe they may be affected by these changes.

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