The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Amendment (2021 Measures No. 1) Regulations 2021 (Cth) (the Regulations) came into effect on Thursday 25 February 2021.

Governance Standard 6 requires a registered charity to take reasonable steps to become a participating non-government institution if the charity is, or is likely to be, identified as being involved in the abuse of a person:

  • in an application for redress made under section 19 of the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Act 2018 (Cth) (Redress Act) or
  • in information given in response to a request from the National Redress Scheme Operator (the Secretary of the Department of Social Services) under section 24 or 25 of the Redress Act.

This could include, for example, a registered charity that was named in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse but may not have been identified so far in a redress application.

Purpose of this standard

The purpose of this standard is to maintain and enhance public trust and confidence in the Australian charity sector by ensuring that a registered charity’s governance enables it to be accountable for its past conduct relating to institutional child sexual abuse.

Ways to meet this standard

A registered charity will be impacted only if it is, or is likely to be, identified as being involved in the abuse of a person.

Common steps a registered charity can take to meet the Governance Standard 6 may include:

  • become a participating non-government institution within six months of the relevant redress application relating to the charity being made or within six months of the charity being identified in a response to a request for information under the Redress Act
  • agreeing to participate in the Redress Scheme for the purposes of paragraph 115(3)(c) of the Redress Act, so that the charity can become a participating non-government institution within six months, and
  • actioning requests made by officers of the Redress Scheme relating to the charity’s participation in the scheme without delay.

Once a registered charity has become a participating non-government institution, it is subject to the Redress Scheme.

Find out how to participate in the Redress Scheme.

How the ACNC will approach this Standard

We will investigate breaches of Governance Standard 6 when it is bought to our attention, including by the National Redress Scheme Operator (the Secretary of the Department of Social Services), that a registered charity is, or is likely to be, identified as being involved in the abuse of a person and does not appear to be taking reasonable steps to participate in the Redress Scheme.

Examples

new guidance icon Church A is a charity that provides religious and educational services.

An officer of the Redress Scheme made contact with Church A and notified the charity that it has been identified in an application to the Redress Scheme. Church A immediately took steps to join the Redress Scheme.

Church A has complied with Governance Standard 6.

new guidance icon Church B is a charity that provides church and educational services.

An officer of the Redress Scheme contacted Church A and notified the charity that it has been identified in response to a request for information under the Redress Scheme. Church B ignores the advice and chooses not to take reasonable steps to join the Redress Scheme.

The National Redress Scheme Operator provides this information to the ACNC.

The ACNC conducts an investigation into the charity and may decide to revoke Church B’s registration.

new guidance icon Shout for Youth is a charity that delivers a range of programs for disadvantaged young people.

The ACNC received a media enquiry claiming Shout for Youth was linked to past institutional child sexual abuse and is not taking accountability for its involvement.

The ACNC contacted the National Redress Scheme Operator and the charity. Both confirmed that they did not believe Shout for Youth was likely to be identified as being involved in the abuse of a person in an application or a response to a request for information under the Redress Scheme.

In the absence of further information, the ACNC would not take any further action in relation to the Shout for Youth’s Governance Standard 6 compliance.

new guidance icon People Volunteers is a charity that coordinates volunteers to provide experiences for disadvantaged youth such as trips to the zoo.

People Volunteers was named in a report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse but has not been identified so far in an application for redress. The charity immediately took steps to join the Redress Scheme, but the National Redress Scheme Operator determined that it did not meet the requirements due to its financial position.

The ACNC would not take further action in relation to the People Volunteers' compliance with Governance Standard 6.

However, People Volunteers’ circumstances later change. The National Redress Scheme Operator reassesses the charity’s financial capabilities and works with the charity to help it participate in the Redress Scheme. The charity cooperates and takes the necessary steps to participate in the Redress Scheme.

People Volunteers has complied with Governance Standard 6.