Charity finance professionals need to be aware of new automatic disqualification rules

February 2, 2018 at 13:54

From 1st August 2018, chief finance officers, finance directors, finance managers and other similar roles in charities may face automatic disqualification from serving in these positions if they have committed certain criminal offences.

What is the change in the law?

This follows the passage of the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act which broaden the range of offences that could lead to automatic disqualification and broaden it to include senior managers in charities.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/673797/Auto_disqualification_table_v1.1.pdf

Charity Commission guidance says that automatic disqualification covers Chief Finance Officers or equivalent positions if they are report only to Chief Executives and trustees and are responsible for the overall management and control of the charity’s finances. The Charity Commission has also produced a decision tree which can help you figure out if your role is impacted.

Other senior managers that do not have overall control of the charity’s finances are not caught by the rules, according to the Commission.

According to the charity Unlock 11m people in the country have a criminal record – so the potential pool of people covered by this disqualification is significant. Thousands of charities will have finance professionals occupying senior roles in their organisation. As a consequence it is important that all charities take the appropriate checks to ensure that they are complying with the law.

Unlock has produced comprehensive guidance for charities on changes to the rules and how that may impact recruiting trustees or senior managers with criminal records.

There is a waiver process if you have a criminal record and want to continue in your role

The good news is that you can apply for a waiver to continue working as a senior finance professional in your charity, but you need to do so quickly.

The Charity Commission has produced guidance on how the waiver process will work, what factors they will consider and other issues related to the process. There are no guarantees that you will get a waiver, but it is important to understand the rules.

The most important thing is to check the rules and take appropriate action

Charities need to look carefully at the rules and make a decision about what steps they need to take.

Remember, you should also check your own governing document to see if certain types of individuals are already disqualified from serving as trustees in your charity, beyond the current legal changes.

If you have any further questions please contact policy@cfg.org.uk for more information.