Commissioner's Policy Statement

This policy sets out how the ACNC approaches its function of providing advice, guidance and education.  

Principle 1: Our guidance will be relevant and responsive  
Principle 2: We will recognise the diversity of needs and audiences
Principle 3: Our guidance will support compliance and governance 
Principle 4: We will develop guidance in a collaborative and consultative manner 

Context

  1. The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) (ACNC Act)  requires that the ACNC must: 
  • provide guidance and education to help charities comply with and understand the ACNC Act (sections 15-5(2)(b)(iii) and 110-10(1) 
  • help the public to understand the work of the not-for-profit sector by giving the public relevant information on its website (section 110-10(2)), and 
  • consider the benefits of helping charities in this way in the exercise of its powers (section 15-10(g)).  
  1. Providing education and support is a key way of achieving the objects of the ACNC Act and forms the foundation of the ACNC’s regulatory approach.  
  1. We aim to provide high-quality advice, guidance and education that is practical and relevant for charities and the public. We seek to provide guidance and resources that:  
  • help charities to understand and meet their obligations under the ACNC Act, as well as enhance good governance practices 
  • assist the public to understand the work of charities 
  • aid researchers and professional advisers who work with charities to better support the sector. 

Principles

The following principles guide our provision of advice, guidance and education to charities: 

Principle 1: Our guidance will be relevant and responsive

  1. The ACNC’s guidance and resources are responsive to the needs of charities and focus on the core obligations of registered charities.   
  1. Guidance will be made available in a timely way so that charities have enough time to become aware, understand and meet their obligations. 
  1. We will establish effective partnerships with peak bodies and other networks to help spread the reach of our guidance. 

Principle 2: Accessible

  1. The ACNC’s guidance is free of charge. We provide our advice, guidance and education in plain language and diverse formats appropriate to our audiences.  
  1. Our website upgrade in October 2018 improved the site accessibility, including improved navigation and mobile versions of the site. The site is now predominately to WCAG 2.0 AA standard. Content that is not at WCAG 2.00 AA standard, such as some older documents, is transferred into HTML when it is updated, with additional web-optimised PDFs if appropriate. 
  1. On our new website: 
  • all new reports and publications are published in HTML 
  • images include alt text descriptions 
  • all webinars and podcasts are transcribed as soon as practicable 
  • all time-based media (such as webinars) are available to be downloaded at a time suitable to users 

Principle 3: We will recognise the diversity of needs and audience

  1. Charities can access guidance in a range of ways, such as via our website, webinars, podcasts, social media, advice service, and, as needed, occasional face-to-face information sessions.  
  1. Providing guidance and education in diverse formats also includes providing information in a graduated way. We provide simple and clear guidance on the obligations of all registered charities. Our guidance is often developed for charities that are smaller and volunteer-based. However, when it is appropriate to do so, we also provide detailed information for larger charities, advisers or researchers. 

Principle 4: Our guidance will support compliance and governance

  1. Advice services, guidance and education explain the obligations of charities registered under the ACNC Act and support charities to understand and meet these obligations.  
  1. We provide general information on good practice governance and management for charities, in addition to explaining legal obligations. We clearly distinguish between guidance on legal obligations and good practice for charities.  

Principle 5: We will develop guidance in a collaborative and consultative manner

  1. We work with charities through regular consultation and other feedback mechanisms to ensure that guidance and education is responsive to the needs of the charity sector.  
  1. We recognise the breadth and high-quality of resources available to charities to support good management and governance practices, many of them developed by the sector. We link to existing freely available, high-quality materials rather than duplicate effort by developing similar resources.  
  1. We work collaboratively with key stakeholders and industry experts to allow input into our guidance, or jointly develop resources, at our discretion and if it is appropriate. 

References

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) sections 15-5, 15-10, 110-10   
Corporate Policy: 2016/01 ACNC Expectations of Customer Behaviour 
Linking to external material Internet resources policy 

Version Control

VersionDate of effectBrief summary of change
Version 1 - Initial policy11/11/2013Initial policy endorsed by Commissioner on 11/11/2013.
Version 2 - Amendment 23/07/2019Updated policy to reflect current practice. Removed obsolete references.