The Charity Commission has now published its Coronavirus guidance for charities, addressing particular queries it has been frequently receiving since the onset of the pandemic.
It highlights the government grants available to all businesses, including charities, to pay wages to employees during the outbreak, and the need to maintain safeguarding of beneficiaries, volunteers and staff.
It also advises that where necessity drives a charity:
- to postpone or cancel AGMs or other critical meetings, or
- to use video, teleconferencing and the internet in place of face-to-face meetings, in the absence of a provision in the charity’s governing document permitting virtual meetings
the charity should record this decision and the reason that it has been made, to demonstrate good governance.
In addition, it gives advice on financial issues, such as the use of reserves during the outbreak. In relation to reserves, it concludes that these “can be spent to help cope with unexpected events like those unfolding at present”.
It also suggests that trustees should look at their charity’s assets or funds and, provided they are not only for a particular and defined purpose, and can be spent at the trustees’ discretion, trustees may decide to “re-prioritise” those assets or funds.
Finally, it links to the most recent guidance for charities from the Charity SORP about what and how to report in their accounts.
For more on charities and guidance relating to the Coronavirus to date, see our article, and visit our Coronavirus hub.