Charity Commission removes flexibility to hold virtual meetings


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At the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020 many organisations were concerned as to how they would be able to hold meetings.

In response, the Government implemented the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020. This allowed certain corporate bodies, such as charitable companies and charitable incorporated organisations, to hold meetings electronically even if their governing document did not specifically allow this.

The Charity Commission then issued its own guidance, relevant for all charities including unincorporated charities not covered by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020. In that guidance the Charity Commission said that even where there was no clause in a governing document that allowed electronic meetings it would nevertheless understand if charities decide to hold meetings electronically.

The flexibility allowed under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 to hold meetings electronically ended on 30 March 2021 but charities have still been able to rely on the guidance issued by the Charity Commission.
The Charity Commission has though now updated that guidance and is changing its approach. It has said that as of 21 April 2022 its more flexible approach to charities holding meeting outside of the terms of their governing documents is coming to an end.

Therefore, charities must go back to looking at what their governing documents allow in terms of holding meetings. If a charity wants to hold a meeting online, by telephone or in some other way, then its governing document must specifically allow that. 

If a charity's governing document does not allow a charity to hold meetings in the way it wants, then a charity can potentially look to amend that governing document. 

Our team of charity experts would be very happy to assist with reviewing and amendments governing documents for charities and we can offer a fixed fee solution for you for this.

Click here to read the Charity Commission guidance.

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