New Commission guidance on remote and hybrid meetings

From Russell Cooke – legal firm of solicitors.

“In a change of stance, the Charity Commission is now urging charities without rules permitting meetings to be held remotely or on a hybrid basis, to update their governing documents and to approve any previous decisions held contrary to their rules, as soon as possible.

As restrictions ease, it will become possible for charities to resume holding trustee meetings and AGMs in person. However, many charities may be reluctant to do so – for example, if they have vulnerable, or hesitant, trustees or members, or because they have discovered that remote meetings can bring particular benefits, such as reduced travel time and costs.

Not all charity governing documents will allow for trustee or member meetings to be held remotely, particularly those that were adopted before the widespread use of technology. From the beginning of the pandemic, the Commission has taken a proportionate approach to cases where trustees decided to hold online, telephone or hybrid meetings, even if it was not permitted by the charity’s governing document.

However, if trustees wish to continue holding remote or hybrid meetings where this is not permitted by the charity’s governing document, the Commission now requires the trustees to update the governing document as soon as possible. In addition, any decisions already taken at remote or hybrid meetings, should be approved without delay.

Similarly, where trustees have cancelled AGMs or other meetings, as virtual or hybrid options were not considered feasible, the Commission has until now been relatively forgiving in its approach where that breached the charity’s governing document. The Commission now requires charities to update their governing documents to amend the rules allowing meetings to be held in a valid format.”

For more information please take a look at Russell Cooke – Charity Commission Remote Meetings

Please contact us a CVS if you have any questions regarding the governamce of your organsation – tel 01629 812154 or email enquiries@ddcvs.org.uk

You can also take a look at our Resources page where you will find information about governing documents for voluntary organisations as well as other useful templates.