8 Nov 2018

The Charity Commission has updated its guidance on reporting serious incidents in charities.

Reporting large


It's important to be aware that the Commission requires charities to report serious incidents and provide "prompt, full and frank disclosure". When reporting an incident, you should tell the Commission what has happened and how you are dealing with it.

This is because when something serious happens, it's the Commission's role to ensure that the trustees comply with their legal duties and the charity manages the incident responsibly.

The updated guidance aims to provide more clarity in relation to what should be reported.

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 (who are collectively referred to throughout this guidance as people who come into contact with your charity through its work)
  • loss of your charity's money or assets
  • damage to your charity's property
  • harm to your charity's work or reputation

For the purposes of this guidance, "significant" means significant in the context of your charity, taking account of its staff, operations, finances and/or reputation.

The guidance covers the following areas:

  • Who should report
  • Why you should tell the Commission
  • What to report

The guidance also provides more detail on different kinds of serious incident from criminal activity, to safeguarding, financial issues, terrorism and other kinds of significant incidents.

We would recommend that charity trustees and senior staff familiarise themselves with the Commission's guidance on reporting serious incidents to ensure that they know what to do if something goes wrong.