Over the last 2 years, many charities have adapted the way they operate against the backdrop of the huge challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the easing of restrictions by the UK government, there is now a focus on learning to live with the virus.
But what does this mean for charities? We have outlined the changes that not-for-profit organisations will need to be aware of.
The return of face-to-face meetings
Changes in the rules have allowed many charities to move back to face-to-face meetings and to hold any other in-person meetings, such as AGMs, where required.
From 21 April 2022, the Charity Commission will be bringing to an end its more flexible approach to holding these meetings.
Charities should check their governing documents before planning meetings
Charities should now check that their governing document allows them to hold meetings in the way that they still see fit, whether online or in person.
A large number of charities are operating hybrid meetings which utilise a combination of both. If your governing document does not allow online, telephone or hybrid meetings then you should consider if you can use any power within your governing document to amend the rules to allow this going forward.
For some charities, trustees might still consider that holding a virtual or hybrid AGM remains an unviable option, and therefore have no option but to cancel or postpone.
In this case, you should again follow any rules in your charity’s governing document that allow for postponement or cancellation.
While the Charity Commission have been very flexible and supportive in responding to the challenges from COVID-19, from 22 April 2022 the Charity Commission will expect all charities that want to postpone or cancel a meeting, or to hold meetings online or on a hybrid basis, to ensure that their governing document allows them to do this.
If this change in COVID-19 guidance affects your charity, please contact one of our experts who will be able to advise you on what to do next.