New Charity Governance standards

The Regulation to introduce governance standards to charities regulated under the Australian Charities and Not-for -Profits Commission (ACNC) Act 2012 was released on 1 March 2013. The Press Release dated 8 March states that the standards will be tabled in Parliament in the week beginning 11 March 2013.

The ACNC governance standards cover:

  • The purposes and not-for-profit nature of charities
  • Accountability to members
  • Compliance with Australian laws
  • The suitability of those who govern charities
  • The duties of those who govern charities
  • They are not intended to reflect best practice governance, but rather a minimum standard of governance that would be expected by the Australian community.

The draft regulations were open for submissions and following that process, a number of changes have been made to the governance standards, including:

  • inserting references that the governance standards must be interpreted in a manner that is consistent with the objects of the Act and the requirements of section 15‑10 of the Act;
  • removing the governance standard proposed in consultation that specifically covered responsible management of financial affairs. This standard has now been incorporated as part of the governance standard that deals with duties of those who govern charities;
  • clarifying that the governance standard about compliance with Australian law is necessary to trigger the ACNC Commissioner’s enforcement powers in the event of a serious breach of the law, and that compliance with the law sets a minimum benchmark by which all entities should govern themselves;
  • clarifying that the governance standard dealing with accountability to members does not mandate annual general meetings, and does not add to the financial reporting requirements that already exist in the ACNC Act; and
  • introducing transitional arrangements that apply until 1 July 2017 that will allow incorporated associations to comply with duties under their State or Territory laws, instead of ACNC governance standard 5, which deals with duties of those who govern charities.

The ACNC governance standards are proposed to commence on 1 July 2013

Click here to view the full press release.

To see the full regulations click here.

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