Reporting Serious Incidents to the Charity Commission – advice for PCCs

This page contains the information that PCCs need to know about:

Following discussions with the national church legal office and the Charity Commission two types of serious incidents have been determined:

  1. Safeguarding related serious incidents
  2. Non safeguarding related serious incidents.

 

 
 

What is a serious incident?

The Charity Commission states:

If a serious incident takes place within your charity, it is important that there is prompt, full and frank disclosure to the Commission. You need to report what happened and, importantly, let the Commission know how you are dealing with it, even if you have also reported it to the police, donors or another regulator.

A serious incident is an adverse event, whether actual or alleged, which results in or risks significant:

• harm to your charity’s beneficiaries, staff, volunteers or others who come into contact with your charity through its work (who are collectively referred to throughout this guidance as people who come into contact with your charity through its work);
• loss of your charity’s money or assets;
• damage to your charity’s property;
• harm to your charity’s work or reputation.

 

For the purposes of this guidance, “significant” means significant in the context of your charity, taking account of its staff, operations, finances and/or reputation.

 

How is a serious incident reported to the Charity Commission?

If the incident is not related to a safeguarding matter, a PCC are responsible for reporting the serious issue to the Charity Commission themselves. Use the link below to do so:

How to report an incident (Government website)

 

 

Delegating reporting

Knowing how to delegate the reporting of a safeguarding related serious incident to the Diocese of Gloucester’s safeguarding team, to report to the Charity Commission on your behalf:

If the issue is a serious safeguarding incident, it is likely that the Diocesan safeguarding team will already be aware of this, but do always call and check with us. Although it is the PCC/trustees responsibility to report such incidents to the Charity Commission, the national church has agreed with the Charity Commission that this can be done on your behalf. We will always discuss the decision to report with you, but you can delegate us to do the actual reporting by completing this PCC minute and letting us have a copy for our records:

Download the delegation template here

(And whilst a PCC delegates the actual reporting actions, there will be background agreements and information sharing between the church and the diocese safeguarding team so that there is agreement in place – this way a PCC is not abdicating its responsibility just delegating the actual reporting action. The draft resolution and minute Word document above set out how that all happens).

 

Who are the Charity Commission?

The Charity Commission are the regulatory body who scrutinise the conduct of charity’s trustees (this includes PCCs), and the steps they have taken in order to protect the charity, its beneficiaries and those connected with that charity’s activities. If a serious incident happens, it is important that there is prompt, full and frank disclosure to the Commission.

Where serious incidents are reported to it, the Charity Commission can decide whether a particular charity should be given regulatory advice or guidance; or, in very serious cases whether the Charity Commission need to take further steps to protect other charities.

 

Can the Diocesan Safeguarding Team help our PCC?

Absolutely! Safeguarding is a significant specific governance responsibility and the Charity Commission has regulatory powers to ensure that charity trustees can manage the risks of incidents and that they have put in appropriate steps to mitigate those risks.

The Diocesan safeguarding team can work with you to ensure that your obligation and accountability as a PCC trustee body is not ‘abdicated’ but that we work together on any incident to agree actions, and so that your reporting delegation is ‘delegated’ to us to report on your behalf.

PCCs are encouraged to agree this draft minute at a forthcoming meeting – please send in a hard copy or return it electronically to:

Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with us – our details and other resources are in the box at the top of this page, or call us at Church House on 01452 410022.

It is every PCCs responsibility to report to the Charity Commission directly all non-safeguarding related serious incidents.