Last week, the Australia Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission introduced External Conduct Standards (ECS), with which all charities that operate overseas (including Basic Religious Charities) must comply.

The definition of “operating overseas” is surprisingly broad, and extends to conducting activities online for people overseas (even if all operational aspects are conducted domestically) or sending donations to organisations overseas. As such, the ECS may have wide reaching implications, and Charities should review their operations to confirm whether they may be caught.

Broadly speaking, if they apply, the ECS require charities to take reasonable steps to ensure appropriate standards of behaviour, governance and oversight in relation to:

  • control of funds, goods and other resources;

  • annual review of overseas activities and record keeping;

  • anti-fraud and anti-corruption guidelines; and

  • measures aimed at protecting vulnerable individuals. 

Charities falling within the scope of the ECS should integrate its requirements into their broader governance framework. If you’re asking yourself, what’s a broader governance framework? And, how can I ensure that it’s compliant? We can assist in assessing whether the ECS is applicable to you (and if so), compliance, as well as ensuring that appropriate oversight mechanisms are in place.

For further advice or information on Not-for-Profits and Charities, please contact:

Paul Gray
Principal Lawyer
T  03 5225 5231

Harriet Burton
T: 03 5225 5215

Jesse Drever
T  03 5225 5226