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Updated conditions in the Charities Act 2016

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Use this page to learn about the updated conditions in the Charities Act 2016 related to trustee disqualification.

The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 includes a wider range of offences, and some other circumstances, which trigger disqualification – these reflect the changes in the updated Act from 2016. These are:

  • several terrorism-related, money laundering and bribery offences
  • violating certain Commission orders relating to finances or property
  • misconduct in public office, perjury or perverting the course of justice
  • disobeying an order or direction of the Commission on application to the High Court
  • attempting, aiding or abetting these offences.

Cases apart from criminal offences in the 2016 Act

Some cases apart from criminal offences are also covered under the 2016 rules.

  • Civil contempt of court relating to false statements (but only for as long as disqualification would have lasted had the same punishment been imposed for a criminal conviction)
  • Where someone is a designated person for reasons linked to terrorist activity by the Treasury
  • Where someone is subject to notification requirements under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Read the Charity Commission guidance on the rule on automatic disqualification of trustees and senior managers.

Systems for charities to monitor disqualification

Charities are required to have a set of systems in place to monitor disqualification in their organisation and must understand what action to take if a trustee or member of staff becomes disqualified.

  • Charities should have systems to check trustees and senior managers aren’t disqualified on appointment and at reasonable intervals.
  • Existing trustees and managers should be asked to confirm they’re not disqualified under the rules.

The Charity Commission has developed a declaration form that trustees and senior managers can sign to declare that they are not disqualified.

As well as receiving signed declarations, charities should also check any relevant official registers which record the names of people disqualified from acting as charity trustees:

A charity with a senior manager should review relevant job or consultancy contracts to decide whether it’s protected if the post holder is disqualified. You may need legal advice about this. For most charities, this is likely to be all that’s required.

If a trustee or member of staff will become disqualified

If you do have a trustee or member of staff who will become disqualified, they must either:

  • formally resign as a trustee or cease to act as a senior manager
  • apply to the Commission for a waiver to continue in their role.

You may need legal advice if a senior manager becomes disqualified and either doesn’t seek a waiver or is refused one – especially when it’s to do with employment rights.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 28 June 2022

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