Q&As

How will charities ensure that they are properly governed if trustees and staff are not able to work or meet in light of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

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Published on LexisPSL on 23/03/2020

The following Private Client Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How will charities ensure that they are properly governed if trustees and staff are not able to work or meet in light of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

How will charities ensure that they are properly governed if trustees and staff are not able to work or meet in light of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Many charities will have board or general meetings scheduled over the coming months and be wondering what steps should be taken to observe social distancing measures and protect attendees, particularly those more at risk from coronavirus (COVID-19). Special rules apply to these meetings and will need to be taken into account.

Formal meetings are, of course, only one (albeit an important) aspect of a charity’s operations. Outside formal meetings, staff may be able to work and meet remotely in order to keep services going. Where this is not possible, difficult decisions may have to be made about how best to protect a charity’s beneficiaries and reputation until restrictions around movement are eased.

This Q&A is principally directed to charities which are structured as companies.

Board decisions: one-off decisions where a meeting cannot be held

If a decision is needed at short notice on a specific matter and the trustees are all in agreement, they may act informally where they are unanimous. This has been interpreted by the courts to mean that an agreement signed by all the directors of a company on different dates, and not as a board, is a contract binding the company. By analogy, a decision approved over email by all the

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