Since April 2020 charities have been able to hold meetings by telephone or online, even if their governing document does not allow this. This flexibility enabled many charities to continue to operate during lockdowns.
The Charity Commission has updated its coronavirus guidance, including changes to the guidance on holding remote meetings
However, now that most restrictions have been lifted the Charity Commission said that from 22 April charities need to comply with their governing document.
This means that charities will need to ensure that their governing document allows them to hold remote meetings if they want to continue to do so from 22 April. The updated guidance states:
Holding meetings online or by telephone
‘Trustees should check if their charity’s governing document allows them to hold meetings online, by telephone or on a hybrid basis (with some people meeting face-to-face and others joining virtually).
If your governing document does not allow online, telephone or hybrid meetings you should consider if you can use any power (usually in your governing document) to amend the rules to allow these types of meetings. You should update the governing document and approve any previous decisions as soon as possible.‘
Charities can make changes to their governing document and more guidance about the latest changes is available on the website: How to make changes to your charity’s governing document
The Chartered Governance Institute has produced a guidance note on Good Practice for virtual board and committee meetings which may also be useful for trustee boards that want to continue meeting remotely.
There will also be no more filing extensions. During the pandemic the Commission also gave many charities an extension to their deadline to submit their annual accounts and annual return. This came to an end last September, but the Commission is still receiving applications.
For more detail, please see Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector