All organisations registered with the ACNC have ongoing obligations under the ACNC Act. These include obligations to:
- notify us of certain changes
- keep records
- report to us each year, and
- comply with Governance Standards.
Registered charities who send funds or engage in activities outside of Australia also need to comply with a set of minimum standards called External Conduct Standards. These standards are intended to provide a minimum level of assurance that charities meet appropriate standards of governance and behaviour when operating outside Australia.
Find out more about the ongoing obligations of registered charities.
Reporting financial and other information
When registered charities report to us each year, Annual Information Statements require small, medium and large charities to provide information about (among other things):
- whether the charity conducted ‘international activities’
- whether the charity helped communities overseas
- the names of the overseas countries where the charity conducted overseas activities or helped communities overseas, and
- the amount of grants and donations made by the charity for use outside Australia (unless the charity meets the ACNC Act definition of ‘basic religious charity’).
The ACNC has prepared a document which will give you a general idea of the types and quantity of information collected. However, it is important to remember the AIS is updated each year.
Governance standards and the ACFID Code of Conduct
The ACNC governance standards are a group of key standards, which include accountability to members and suitability of responsible people. Registered charities must meet these standards.
A number of non-government aid and international development organisations become members of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), which is a peak body. All ACFID members sign up to the ACFID Code of Conduct (the ACFID Code). The ACFID Code promotes good practice and aims to improve international development outcomes and increase stakeholder trust by enhancing transparency and accountability of the members.
Please note that charities that comply with the ACFID Code, in particular the principles and underlying obligations, are highly likely to also meet the ACNC Governance Standards.
ACFID revised its Code of Conduct in June 2017. However, the ACFID Code and the ACNC Governance Standards do not map across to each other in an exact way, and the ACNC may still require your organisation to demonstrate how it meets the Governance Standards.
External Conduct Standards and the ACFID Code of Conduct
The ACNC External Conduct Standards are a separate set of standards that impose minimum requirements on the governance and behaviour of charities when operating overseas.
As with the ACNC Governance Standards, charities that comply with the ACFID Code are highly to also meet the ACNC External Conduct Standards.
You can view a page with the comparing the ACNC External Conduct Standards with the ACFID Code of Conduct here.
As with the ACNC Governance Standards, because the ACFID Code is not wholly consistent with the External Conduct Standards, the ACNC may still require further evidence to demonstrate compliance with the External Conduct Standards, despite ACFID Code compliance.
Obligations to other agencies
If your organisation has obligations to another government agency (such as notification or reporting obligations) it must continue to meet these obligations unless we or another government agency tell you otherwise. This includes agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The ACNC will be working with other government agencies to reduce unnecessary regulatory obligations over time. Find out more about this work and whether it affects your organisation by reading about charity obligations to other regulators.