The Charity Commission updated its Coronavirus Guidance for the Charity Sector on 6 November. It makes clear that despite the new lockdown in England charities can still hold trustee or members’ meetings where these meetings are necessary for providing voluntary or charitable services. 

However, the guidance still has clear advice about, where possible, holding meetings online, for example, charitable companies and charitable incorporated organisations holding AGMs and other members’ meetings online using provisions in their governing document or under the provisions in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 that currently apply until 30 December 2020 (with the possibility of them being extended further).

For other types of meetings such as trustee meetings, trustees need to check if their charity’s governing document allows them to hold meetings online or via the telephone. The Commission's guidance continues to make clear that where a charity's governing document does not allow this, a charity should look to alter its governing document. However, where this is not possible (e.g. because a members' meeting cannot be held), trustees may have to cancel or postpone meetings. If they do so they must follow the provisions in their governing document. If there are no such rules, but trustees consider that this is still the best course of action for their charity, they must record the reasons for this decision to demonstrate good governance. And of course, the meeting should then be held as soon as it is possible to safely do so.