Coronavirus: Regulator warns charities to check advice around reporting incidents

The Charity Commission has urged charities to check up-to-date advice on Coronavirus to understand what they need to report and how.

The regulator's warning came just before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK is now entering a 'delay phase' and that the virus is the 'worst health crisis in a generation'.

Charities have been urged by the regulator to check advice from Public Health England to ensure they are following correct protocol surrounding the spread of Coronavirus.

It said the virus may result in some incidents that should be reported as a serious incident to the Charity Commission, but that they 'need to lead to a significant impact on your charity'.

"For example, if your charity stops all or a significant part of its work due to coronavirus this would be a significant impact on its operations and serious harm to the charity’s work which we would expect to be reported," the watchdog said in a statement.

"Examples would be a school that has to close or a charity that has significant activities in China which it has stopped."

The regulator added that cancelling a fundraising event 'may be reportable depending on the impac't.

"If it might result in significant loss of expected funds and/or insolvency issues for your charity, then it should be reported. Similarly, if coronavirus results in insolvency issues for some other reason, this should also be reported," it said.

"Where a charity thinks it might be affected due to the nature of its activities or service users but there is no impact yet, they do not need to make a report now," it added.

"For example, a care home which is taking all appropriate measures to protect vulnerable residents and staff but has not had any suspected cases of coronavirus currently would not need to make a report.

"It is ultimately the responsibility of the charity trustees to decide whether an incident is significant and should be reported."

Last week the NCVO issued guidance for charities around Coronavirus, which can be read here.

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