Malcolm Lucas – Charities & NFP Specialist
The Charity Commission for England and Wales is considering how best it can help and support charities during the current Coronavirus crisis. To this end it is releasing a series of posts giving advice how to cope during the pandemic.
The Commission understand that the outbreak will very likely impose substantial additional burdens on charities and their staff, volunteers and trustees. The key announcement relates to government grants to cover most of the wages of a charity’s workforce who remain on the payroll but who are, temporarily, not working during the Coronavirus outbreak.
In addition, there is advice for trustees on the use of a charity’s reserves. Trustees should consider what their short, medium and longer term priorities are, and assess whether they need to amend their financial plans given the current situation.
Update from the Fundraising Regulator
The Fundraising Regulator has also issued guidance for charities on the impact of the virus on fundraising, including the impact on face to face fundraising, cancellation of events and the importance of maintaining fundraising and data protection standards while working from home:
Financial reporting implications of Coronavirus for charities
The Charities SORP committee has also issued some helpful guidance on the impact of the Outbreak on Charity Financial Reporting. In particular it gives guidance on the impact on reporting in the Trustees’ Annual Report, considerations regarding asset and liability valuations, going concern assessments and post balance sheet event disclosures.
Other announcements cover compliance issues including guidance on the holding of formal meetings (both AGMs and Board Meetings) and on making serious incident reports to the Charity Commission.
From a good governance point of view, it is important that any decisions made by trustees by telephone or video link are then properly documented and written down.
We are also encouraging clients to warn their staff who are working from home to be extra vigilant over scam emails and cybercrime following an increase in fraudulent emails purporting to provide Covid-19 advice or support.
Charities may also request a relaxation to the filing deadline for annual returns.
If you would like to discuss the impact of the Coronavirus on the content of your accounts and trustees’ report, your usual Menzies’ contact would be only too pleased to help.