Please click here to read OSCR’s COVID-19 Guidance for Charities

COVID-19 guidance on meetings and AGMs updated

22 Feb 2021

Meetings and AGMs

One of the challenges for charities during COVID-19 has been how to hold meetings including Annual General Meetings.  For some of you, this has also impacted on the finalising of the Annual Report and Accounts where this has been directly linked to your AGM.  Because of these impacts, we allowed charities extra time to submit their annual reports and accounts (what we called a ‘grace period’) between 01 March 2020 and 31 March 2021.  This allowed charities an additional 9 months to submit their accounts. 

As we reported last week, from the 01 April 2021 charities will no longer receive this additional time, and the register will show if they have submitted their annual information late, that is to say not within 9 months of their year-end date.

It is more important than ever, therefore, for you to think about how you are going to hold your necessary trustee meetings and AGMs.  The virtual option will probably be the best one for most charities.  If you have not already done so, you should look at your governing document and see whether or not it permits you to hold virtual AGMs and other meetings.  If it does not, now is the time to make the necessary change.  This is not only good for the current difficult circumstances, but will allow you to use different methods of meeting in the future which could be good in terms of the effective governance of your charity.

For some charities, making these changes might be difficult.  This will depend on what your governing document says about making changes, and what your charity’s legal form is.  Where it is too difficult for you to make these changes at this time, and your only option is to meet virtually, then you should do this.  It is much better to meet virtually than not at all.

Specific legislation had been passed allowing SCIOs, charitable companies and community benefit society to hold virtual member’s meetings (including AGMs but not other charity trustee meetings) where face-to-face meetings were not possible. This legislation runs until 30 March 2021, but is not going to be extended further.  Originally, the Act had also allowed for the postponement of AGMs that were due to be held between 26 March and 30 September.  This was not extended beyond that date.

You can read our updated guidance here.

We know it will continue to be difficult for some charities.  We will continue to take a proportionate and supportive approach to charities in tricky situations.  If you have any questions, please get in touch at info@oscr.org.uk