Bailiwick Charity Law 2022
The Bailiwick’s new Charity Law was brought in to force on 26th April 2022.
The Law comprises an Ordinance (The Charities etc. (Guernsey and Alderney) Ordinance, 2021) and the Regulations (The Charities etc. (Amendments, Exemptions, Governance and Specified Amount)(Guernsey and Alderney) Regulations, 2022. There are also some Transitional Regulations for existing charities.
The Ordinance requires any Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) with income or assets above certain thresholds, to be registered and gives powers for their regulation to the Guernsey Registry. An NPO that wishes to be treated as a charity must conform to one of the prescribed charitable purposes listed in Schedule 4 to the Ordinance, and must also provide a benefit to the public (“the public” does not include members of the charity).
The Regulations brought the Ordinance into force on 29th April 2022 and set the registration thresholds as follows:
- for International Charities (those whose mission is to send funds outside the Bailiwick), there are no thresholds, each one must be registered
- for all other charities, the thresholds are income of £20,000 or above, or assets of £100,000 or above
- for charities falling below this threshold, it is possible to register voluntarily
The Ordinance gives the Registry powers to administer the Register and supervise compliance with the Ordinance and the Regulations. There are both civil and criminal penalties available to the Registry.
Charity financial statements
The new law provides that financial statements for accounting periods beginning after 1st March 2023 must be made available to members of the public on request. For most charities these will be their accounts for the year ended 31st December 2023, which will need to be filed at the Registry by 31st December 2024.
The content of charity financial statements is to be set by the Registry and it is likely these will be required to conform to Financial Reporting Standard 102. For charities with annual income of less than £250,000 most of FRS 102 is not applicable as they are allowed to prepare their accounts on a receipts and payments basis -the major change for these charities is that they have to adopt a certain format for their accounts and the AGC will post guidance on this when it has been agreed with the Registry.
Toolkit for AGC Members
A helpful summary of what AGC members must do, and by when, which has been provided by the Registry, can be found here. The Registry has also issued General Guidance and Guidance for International Charities.
Every charity is likely to have to revise its Governing Document and a Governing Document checklist that can be used to establish what additional clauses are required can be found here. International Charities have to file their revised Governing Documents with the Registry by 31st December 2022; all other charities have to file this by 30th June 2023.
A specimen Governing Document which conforms to the new Law is being developed by the AGC and will be published on this page shortly. Charities should feel free to copy clauses and insert them into their Governing Documents as required, or to develop an Addendum to their existing Governing Documents.
International Charities have to develop an Anti-Financial-Crime Policy and file this with the Registry by 30th November 2022. A pro-forma for this document will be published on this page shortly.