Running a charity in times of COVID-19
- AuthorVictoria Reeds
If you are a trustee or member of a charity you will be used to attending meetings in person, especially if you are part of a small, local charity. With the arrival of Covid – 19 and the first lockdown, many charities put on hold their usual meetings, delaying AGM's and members meetings in the hope that normality would resume in the near future.
With the onset of the second lockdown the Charity Commission has updated its guidance in relation to charity meetings to reflect the changes to social restrictions in England and Wales, as set out in the Health Protection (Coronavirus,Restrictions)(England)(no.4)Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1200) and Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions)(No.4)(Wales) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/2019). The English Regulations came into force on 5 November 2020, imposing a 28 day lockdown. The Welsh Regulations came into force on 9 November 2020 but will not expire until 19th February 2012.
The new guidance now says that charities can still hold meetings in person in England where these meetings are necessary for providing voluntary or charitable services. The guidance is slightly different in Wales.
Whether this is actually helpful depends on the nature and objectives of the charity. For some, such as food banks, meeting in person is vital for the organisation of resources and management of the project. For others, like many retail outlets, the running of the charity has effectively been put on hold until restrictions are lifted. There are of course other groups which have already adapted and are now well practised at using technology to continue with meetings as best they can.
The regulations are not an easy read and can be difficult to follow. It is therefore essential that professional advice is taken as charities, like everyone else, risk a fine for non-compliance.