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Serious Incident Policy

The Charity Commission requires charities to report serious incidents. If a serious incident occurs EEA should make a prompt and frank disclosure to the Charity Commission.

EEA must report what happened and how we are dealing with it, even if we have reported it to 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
  • loss of charity money or assets
  • damage to charity property
  • harm to your charity’s work or reputation

A list of the main categories of reportable incident are available on the government website but include:

  • protecting people and safeguarding incidents
  • financial crimes
  • large donations from an unknown or unverifiable source or suspicious financial activity
  • links to terrorism or extremism
  • other significant incidents such as insolvency, significant data breaches, major governance problems

Who should report?
Responsibility for reporting serious incidents lies with trustees and they must do so in timely matter. Why must you report?

When something serious happens, it is the Charity Commission’s role to ensure that trustees comply with their legal duties and that the charity manages the incident responsibly. They will be looking for assurance EEA has taken all steps to limit the immediate impact of the incident and, where possible, prevent it from happening again.

The Commission can decide if they need to use their powers to protect a charity.

When to report?

Promptly and as soon as reasonably possible after it happens, or immediately after EEA becomes aware of it. It is the responsibility of trustees to decide whether an incident is significant and should be reported. If a reportable incident also involves actual or alleged criminal activity then you must also report it to the relevant agencies e.g. Police.

Failure by trustees to safely manage safeguarding risks is a serious regulatory concern to the Commission and may be considered misconduct and/or mismanagement. You need to report any serious safeguarding risks such as incidents of abuse or mistreatment.

EEA procedure

  • As soon as any trustee becomes aware of a possible significant incident they must inform all other trustees immediately.
  • 2 or more trustees will meet to discuss the next steps and if the matter is significant.
  • If significant, a report will need to be made to the Charity Commission promptly. EEA policy is to do this within 48 hours of the decision. The Commission will provide an incident reference number.
  • Report to all other relevant agencies
  • Plan what to say to volunteers, public and in the media
  • As soon as reasonably practicable prevent or minimise any further harm, loss or damage.
  • All trustees to review what happened and prevent it from happening again.
  • If annual income is over £25,000 EEA cannot file our annual return unless a declaration is signed that we have had no serious incidents.