In late 2017, the Federal Government announced major reforms to the administration and oversight of charities operating overseas.

This included the introduction of the External Conduct Standards, which are likely to come into effect in July 2019.

The External Conduct Standards will guide the governance of charities' work overseas. These standards will cover a range of activities – including sending funds overseas from Australia – and are intended to provide a minimum level of assurance that charities meet appropriate standards of governance and behaviour when operating outside Australia.

The proposed standards cover:

  • Activities and control of resources (including funds)
  • Annual review of overseas activities and record keeping
  • Anti-fraud and anti-corruption
  • Protection of vulnerable individuals

Charities that do not operate overseas will not be affected by the proposed External Conduct Standards. How a charity complies with the proposed Standards will vary according to its particular circumstances such as its size, its funding sources, its activities and the needs of the public.

The Standards will operate in addition to the existing ACNC Governance Standards.