Charities must meet the ACNC Governance Standards – as well as the ACNC External Conduct Standards if operating overseas – in order to be registered and remain registered with the ACNC.

The Governance Standards are a set of core, minimum standards that deal with how charities are run (including their processes, activities and relationships).

The standards require charities to remain charitable, operate lawfully, and be run in an accountable and responsible way. Because the Governance Standards are a set of high-level principles, not precise rules, each charity may implement different strategies to ensure they are compliant.

Charities that operate outside Australia must comply with the External Conduct Standards. The External Conduct Standards govern how a registered charity must manage its activities and resources outside Australia.

A charity is generally considered to operate outside Australia even if its overseas activities are just a minor part of its work or if it only sends a small amount of money overseas. This is true even when such activities are conducted through a third party.

We take all concerns raised regarding registered charities seriously and where there is evidence of misconduct, we will investigate. Where we find serious breaches of the ACNC Act, Governance Standards and External Conduct Standards, we take firm action.

Our compliance powers include providing regulatory advice, Enforceable Undertakings, Directions, suspending or removing Responsible People, and ultimately, revoking charity status. The revocation of charity status is used only in the most serious cases.

Due to secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act, we are unable to confirm or comment on compliance activity unless it is already in the public domain, or if we take certain action against a charity. Such action includes issuing warnings and directions, suspending or removing Responsible People, and ultimately, revoking charity registration.

These matters are published on the ACNC Charity Register. Where the ACNC takes no action, or issues a charity with regulatory advice, we cannot publish this on the Charity Register.