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Are you an Australian registered charity operating in the Pacific? Part 3

Make sure you’re complying with the ACNC External Conduct Standards

Many Australian not-for-profit organisations operate in the Pacific region. If you are a charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), you are required to ensure you carry out your activities in accordance with the ACNC External Conduct Standards (ECS).

In Part 3 of our series on the ECS, we look at ECS 2 – Annual Review of Overseas Activities and Record-Keeping.

This standard requires charities to obtain and keep records of their operations outside Australia for each financial year in which a charity

operates outside of Australia or gives funds or other resources to third parties for use outside Australia.

A charity’s records must include all information necessary for it to prepare a summary of its operations outside Australia if required.

ACNC guidance states that a charity is likely to satisfy this standard if it has records that contain the following information:

  • the types of activities it conducted outside Australia on a country-by-country basis;

  • details of how its activities outside Australia enabled it to pursue and achieve its purpose on a country-by-country basis;

  • details of all expenditure relating to its activities outside Australia on a country-by-country basis;

  • details of any procedures and processes it used to monitor its overseas operations;

  • a list of the third parties it worked with outside Australia; and

  • details of any documented claims of inappropriate behaviour by its employees or Responsible Persons[1] outside Australia, and the actions it took in response, including documenting if it breached an Australian or overseas law, or breached its own code of conduct.

The ACNC requires that a charity’s records kept in compliance with this standard are complete, accurate and legible, prepared on a timely basis, kept in English (or a form that can be easily translated into English) and stored securely. The records must be kept for at least 7 years and may be kept in electronic form.

Although a charity is not required to provide a copy of the records it maintains in accordance with this Standard to the ACNC, the ACNC may request this information from a charity as part of an enquiry or investigation, in which case, the charity must provide the records requested in a timely manner.

For more information on how we can assist your Not For Profit to comply with the ECS, please contact us.

[1]Responsible persons are individuals who are responsible for governing a charity. Generally, a charity’s Responsible Persons are its board or committee members but may also include its CEO.


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