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Changes to rules for charities and criminal records – coming soon

Changes to the ‘automatic disqualification’ rules that affect who can run a charity, and particularly people with criminal records, will come into force on 1st August 2018.

The current rules only apply to trustees. People with unspent convictions for certain offences, including dishonesty and deception offences, need to be granted a waiver from the Charity Commission before they can be a trustee.

There are two main changes happening in August this year:

  1. There are more offences covered – including people on the sex offenders register
  2. There are more roles covered – the rules will apply to certain senior manager positions such as chief executives and chief finance officers.

But don’t wait until August. People involved in charities need to work out if they’re affected, and charities will need to update their recruitment processes to reflect the changes to the rules.

If you will be disqualified when the new rules change on the 1st August, you can apply for a waiver of your disqualification by the Charity Commission from 1st February 2018. There’ll be an application form on their website from that date, and if you’re currently involved in a charity in a way that you’d be disqualified, you’ll need to apply for a waiver as soon as possible for you to continue after 1st August.

We’ve been aware of these upcoming changes for a couple of years, and we’ve been working with the Charity Commission to make sure that, given they were being implemented, the changes happened in a way that didn’t unnecessarily exclude people with convictions and that charities felt confident in understanding and applying the rules.

That’s why we’re publishing guidance for both charities and individuals, and this will be available from the 1st February. Updates can be found on our landing page for changes to charity rules or you can sign up to our mailing list.



Third Sector

Civil Society


More information

  1. The Charity Commission announced these dates in their January 2018 news.
  2. Updates can be found on our landing page for changes to charity rules or you can sign up to our mailing list.
  3. Find out more about the policy work we’ve been doing on the changes to the rules.


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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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