It was an honour to attend the ANZAC Day dawn service last week and commemorate our servicemen and women at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.
I pay my respects to those who have served in all wars, conflicts and peace-keeping missions.
I would also like to acknowledge the many registered charities that have supported our servicemen and women, and their families.
2017 Annual Information Statements due soon for many charities
Just over 14,000 charities will soon receive reminders from the ACNC, as the due date for charities reporting on a calendar year (from 1 January to 31 December) approaches. These charities will be required to complete their 2017 Annual Information Statement by 30 June 2018.
I encourage all charities to submit their Annual Information Statements as soon as practical, to avoid any system slowness that we may experience as the traffic increases.
Our IT team is currently in the process of implementing significant changes to our website and its infrastructure, which will bring improvements to the speed and functionality of the ACNC website and ACNC Charity Portal. This will all be in place for the 2018 Annual Information Statement.
In the meantime, please ensure that you submit your 2017 Annual Information Statement as soon as possible.
Change is coming
In the 2017 Federal Budget, the Government announced that the ACNC would receive just under $3 million to improve our IT systems. You will be pleased to know that this project is well and truly underway.
Over the coming months we will use this funding to:
- Improve the speed and functionality of the Charity Portal, which will make submitting Annual Information Statements quicker, and easier
- Update our website design and layout, so it is more user-friendly for those looking for information to manage their charity, or those looking for information about charities and the sector
- Improve the accessibility, searchability, and responsiveness of the Charity Register for donors and the public
- Implement a new customer relationship management system that provides automation, workflow and quality assurance to support and streamline our internal operations.
The benefits of this project are still some months away, however, registered charities can begin to prepare themselves by ensuring that their address for service – the official address we use to contact them – is accurate and up to date. This is important because we will need to contact all registered charities over the coming months to provide them with new credentials to access the Charity Portal. If we cannot reach you via your address for service email, you will not be able to set up your new account.
If you represent a charity, please take the opportunity to check that we have an appropriate address for service email. Everything you need to know about an address for service, including how to update it, can be found at acnc.gov.au/afs.
I will continue to update you on the progress of our IT improvements in future editions of the Commissioner’s Column.
Is your charity using its Registered Charity Tick?
Almost 12,000 charities have now downloaded the ACNC’s Registered Charity Tick, a logo designed for charities to illustrate their commitment to transparency and accountability.
Charities can display the logo on their website, printed promotional material, banners and even vehicles – it’s up to you!
If you are interested in using the Registered Charity Tick, visit the ACNC Charity Portal and accept the terms and conditions to download the files needed.
More information about the Registered Charity Tick is available on the ACNC website at acnc.gov.au/charitytick.
It is not too late - watch our most recent webinars now
In April, we hosted two free webinars for charities – both of which are now available on our website.
The first focused on the challenges and issues of managing staff and volunteers, and provided tips for good governance in relation to recruitment. There is nearly a 50-50 split between the number of charities that are run solely by volunteers, and those that have paid staff, so this webinar has something for everyone.
The second webinar was designed to help charities, particularly those that are small in size, understand and meet their obligations to the ACNC. Key topics included maintaining good records and investing in good governance to avoid future risks.
And with the 2017 Annual Information Statement due date fast approaching for the 14,000 charities I mentioned above, we have a webinar scheduled on 22 May to help charities submit accurately, and on time. The team will talk you through each question, the common reporting errors we find, and you will also have the chance to ask any questions. I encourage all charities with a 30 June due date to consider attending.
Information about our upcoming and previous webinars is available at acnc.gov.au/webinars.
Sector leads new complaints handling initiative
A group of not-for-profit peak bodies, including the Community Council for Australia, Justice Connect, the Fundraising Institute of Australia, Our Community and more, have worked together to create a policy framework for charities in relation to complaints handling.
The new policy, which was convened by Dr Sue-Anne Wallace AM, is designed to help charities ensure that complaints are handled confidentially and safely, helping to build trust and confidence.
The ACNC supports good governance practice beyond was is mandated in the Governance Standards. I encourage charity boards to review these free resources, with an eye to improving their processes and policies in regards to complaints handling.
The full complaints handling policy guidelines are available on the Justice Connect website.
The Hon Dr Gary Johns