New rules which came into force on 1 August 2018 have widened the automatic disqualification regime for charities to include more grounds for disqualification and to cover senior managers as well as charity trustees.
Who is disqualified?
Individuals are automatically disqualified if they have an unspent conviction for certain offences, they have been removed from serving as a charity trustee or disqualified from acting as a company director, they are an undischarged bankrupt, are on the sex offenders register, have disobeyed a Charity Commission Order or have been designated under antiterrorist legislation – see this table for full details.
These disqualification grounds apply to the charity’s trustees. They also apply to the charity’s ‘senior managers’ - the person accountable to the trustees for day-to-day management of the charity (usually the chief executive) and the person accountable to the chief executive or trustees for the management of the charity’s finances (usually the chief finance officer).
What are the consequences of disqualification?Individuals who become disqualified will need to resign from their post as a charity trustee or senior manager. However, the Charity Commission can grant a waiver to a disqualified individual where the Commission believes that this is in the best interests of the charity and not likely to damage public trust and confidence.
What should my charity do?
As part of pre-appointment checks, you should ask a prospective trustee or senior manager to confirm that they are not disqualified. The Charity Commission provide sample declarations for this purpose. You should periodically ask your trustees and senior managers to sign fresh declarations to confirm that they have not become disqualified since their appointment. You should check official registers which cover various disqualification grounds.
In order to protect your charity, you should also ensure that the employment contract for a senior manager allows you to dismiss the individual if they become automatically disqualified.