Mapping the ACNC Governance Standards to the CMA Standards Council Principles and Standards

If your registered charity complies with the CMA Standards Council Principles and Standards it will meet the ACNC governance standards

The CMA Standards Council is a ministry of Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd (incorporating Christian Management Australia), a not-for-profit charity, seeking to help the Christian not-for-profit sector in Australia govern, lead and manage their organisations more effectively. The CMA Standards Council is not tied to any church, denomination or organisation. It is completely interdenominational, and its community represents the wide spread of the Christian faith in Australia. It is not underwritten by any business, foundation or organisation.

The CMA Standards Council's published standards represent a helpful set of standards for ministry governance, applicable to Christian churches, charities, schools, hospitals and other organisations. They set out 9 Principles and 54 Standards which organisations can use as a governance benchmark. The CMA Standards Council independently accredits organisations against those Principles and Standards, issuing the following accreditation seal to successfully accredited organisations.

Read more about CMA Standards Council accreditation here.

The CMA Standards Council Principles and Standards promote effective practices beyond the minimum requirements of the ACNC governance standards.

    Comply with the CMA Standards Council Principles and Standards and meet the governance standards

    If you comply with the following CMA Standards Council Principles and Standards you will meet the ACNC governance standards. The diagram below contains only suggestions and is not intended to capture all of the ways a charity can demonstrate they are complying with the CMA Standards Council

    Principles and Standards and therefore meeting the ACNC governance standards. Different charities (size, activities, structure) will demonstrate compliance in different ways

    See below for a more detailed version of the comparison between the ACNC Governance Standards and the CMA Standards Council Principles and Standards

    ACNC Governance Standards

    CMA Principles and Standards

    Standard 1:
    Purposes and not-for-profit nature of a registered entity

    2.1 and 2.3 Charitable Status

    5.1 to 5.6 Charitable Purpose

    8.2 Transparency and Accountability

    Standard 2:
    Accountability to members

    8.1 – 8.7 Transparency and Accountability

    Standard 3:
    Compliance with Australian laws

    2.1 Charitable Status

    7.1 – 7.2

    Standard 4:
    Suitability of responsible persons

    2.1 and 2.3 Charitable Status

    4.1 Responsible Leadership

    Standard 5:
    Duties of responsible persons

    2.1 – 2.3 Charitable Status

    3.7 – Diligent Governance

    4.1 – 4.5 – Responsible Leadership

    6.1, 6.2, 6.5, 6.6 – Financial Oversight

    This is a detailed comparison that shows how the ACNC Governance Standards compare with the CMA Standards Council Principles and Standards.

    If you are accredited by the CMA Standards Council as meeting the CMA Standards Council Principles and Standards, in particular the following principles and underlying obligations, you will meet the governance standards see CMASC accreditation process.

    ACNC Governance Standards

    CMA Standards Council Principles and Standards

    Standard 1: Purposes and not-for-profit nature of a registered entity
    Charities must be not-for-profit and work towards their charitable purpose. They must be able to demonstrate this and provide information about their purpose to the public.

    Log in to the Charity Portal to upload your governing document (under change charity details).

    2.1 Charitable Status
    The organisation must be registered in good standing on the ACNC register.

    2.3 Charitable Status
    The members of the organisation’s governing body must meet the ACNC’s suitability requirements.

    5.1 Charitable Purpose
    The organisation's constitution or equivalent must clearly identify the charitable purpose of the organisation.

    5.2 Charitable Purpose
    The organisation's constitution or equivalent must contain the customary non-profit clauses which meet the non-distribution constraints required for not-for-profit entities.

    5.3 Charitable Purpose
    The charitable purpose for which the organisation exists must be clearly articulated in websites, brochures, reports and other relevant and appropriate publications.

    5.4 Charitable Purpose
    The organisation must ensure that an overall plan exists which describes how current and future activities align with the organisation's charitable purpose.

    5.5 Charitable Purpose
    The governing body must conduct an annual review of the organisation's overall finances and activities, to satisfy itself that they are being applied in the pursuit of the organisation's charitable purpose.

    5.6 Charitable Purpose
    The governing body must, either itself or by way of an approved process, ensure that each significant program or activity is evaluated at intervals of no greater than every three years, to verify that it is progressing the organisation's charitable purpose, and represents an effective use of organisational resources

    8.2 Transparency and Accountability
    The organisation must produce an annual report which is available to members, donors, staff, volunteers and members of the public. The report must contain sufficient detail to enable readers to gain a reasonable overview of the activities, performance and achievements of the organisation.

    Standard 2: Accountability to members
    Charities that have members must take reasonable steps to be accountable to their members and provide their members adequate opportunity to raise concerns about how the charity is governed.

    Log in to the Charity Portal to submit your Annual Information Statement and financial reports if required.

    8.1 Transparency and Accountability
    The organisation must hold an annual meeting to inform members of its activities, performance and achievements. There must be a reasonable opportunity at the meeting for members to ask questions or seek clarity about matters of legitimate interest.

    8.2 Transparency and Accountability
    The organisation must produce an annual report which is available to members, donors, staff, volunteers and members of the public. The report must contain sufficient detail to enable readers to gain a reasonable overview of the activities, performance and achievements of the organisation.

    8.3 Transparency and Accountability
    The organisation must supply at any time a copy of its most recent audited/reviewed financial statements to any legitimate stakeholder who submits a written request. The organisation may charge a reasonable fee reflecting the costs and effort of supplying the statements.

    8.4 Transparency and Accountability
    The organisation must supply a summary report on the financial and operational results of any significant specific purpose appeal, in response to a written request from a donor to or volunteer of that project. The organisation may charge a reasonable fee reflecting the costs and effort of supplying the report.

    8.5 Transparency and Accountability
    The organisation must ensure that postal, email and telephone contact details are kept up-to-date on websites, reports and publications.

    8.6 Transparency and Accountability
    The organisation must ensure that a suitable mechanism exists for members, donors, volunteers and other interested parties to receive communications about the organisation's activities and progress in between annual meetings.

    8.7 Transparency and Accountability
    The organisation must maintain and publicise a mechanism for members, donors, staff, volunteers and other interested parties to submit feedback or register a complaint with the organisation, and respond in a timely and appropriate manner.

    Standard 3: Compliance with Australian laws
    Charities must not commit a serious offence (such as fraud) under any Australian law or breach a law that may result in a penalty of 60 penalty units (currently $10 200) or more.

    2.1 Charitable Status
    The organisation must be registered in good standing on the ACNC register

    7.1 Risk Management
    The organisation must develop, implement and monitor a risk management plan that identifies the significant risks to which the organisation is exposed, classifies them according to severity and likelihood, and documents appropriate management strategies and insurance programs. The plan must be reviewed at least annually.

    7.2 Risk Management
    The organisation must take reasonable steps to ensure that it meets its legal obligations and in particular must not act in a way which could be dealt with as an indictable offence or could be punishable by a civil or criminal penalty of over $10,000.

    Standard 4: Suitability of responsible persons
    Charities must check that their responsible persons (such as board or committee members or trustees – called ‘responsible entities’ under the ACNC Act) are not disqualified from managing a corporation under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) or disqualified from being a responsible person of a registered charity by the ACNC Commissioner. Charities must take reasonable steps to remove any responsible person who does not meet these requirements.

    Log in to the Charity Portal to update your responsible persons’ details (under change responsible person).

    Search the ASIC Disqualified Persons Register
    Search the ACNC Register of Disqualified Persons, available at acnc.gov.au – the ACNC only commenced on 3 December 2012 and has not yet disqualified anyone.
    Ask all responsible persons to sign a declaration relating to disqualifying offences. View the ACNC’s suggested declaration.

    2.1 Charitable Status
    The organisation must be registered in good standing on the ACNC register.

    2.3 Charitable Status
    The members of the organisation’s governing body must meet the ACNC’s suitability requirements.

    4.1 Responsible Leadership
    Each member of the governing body must at all times meet the ACNC's published criteria for responsible persons (whether regulated by the ACNC or not) and must meet their legal duties, including the duties set out in ACNC Governance Standard 5.

    Standard 5: Duties of responsible persons
    Charities must take reasonable steps to make sure that responsible persons understand and carry out the duties set out in this standard.

    2.1 Charitable Status
    The organisation must be registered in good standing on the ACNC register.

    2.3 Charitable Status
    The members of the organisation’s governing body must meet the ACNC’s suitability requirements.

    3.7 Diligent Governance
    Financial dealings between the organisation and any member of the governing body must be governed by the CMA Standards Council's Supporting Policy on Governing Body Remuneration.

    4.1 Responsible Leadership
    Each member of the governing body must at all times meet the ACNC's published criteria for responsible persons (whether regulated by the ACNC or not) and must meet their legal duties, including the duties set out in ACNC

    4.2 Responsible Leadership
    The governing body must have a selection process for recruiting appropriately skilled and diverse members.

    4.3 Responsible Leadership
    The organisation must have an induction process which informs and educates members of its governing body about their duties and responsibilities.

    4.4 Responsible Leadership
    The organisation must have a governing body development plan, which outlines how that body intends to continuously review and improve its effectiveness.

    4.5 Responsible Leadership
    The governing body must take steps to identify any conflict of interest and deal with it in a manner consistent with the CMA Standards Council's Policy For Excellence In Handling Conflicts of Interest.

    6.1 Financial Accountability
    The organisation must maintain detailed accounting records, and prepare complete and accurate financial statements, including a balance sheet, profit & loss statement and statement of cash flows.

    6.2 Financial Accountability
    The governing body must ensure that the reports provided to it contain sufficient detail, in appropriate formats, to allow it to determine the financial health and performance of the organisation.

    6.5 Financial Accountability
    Each year the governing body must review and approve the final financial statements of the organisation, and must review any audit report and / or management letter provided by the auditor.

    6.6 Financial Accountability
    Each year the governing body must review the appropriateness of its policies and procedures relating to internal controls, segregation of duties and expenditure approval policies, taking into consideration the size and capacity of the organisation.

    ACNC related resources

    CMA related resources