External Conduct Standards
Does your congregation support any activities overseas?
The Commonwealth Government has introduced new standards for charities that conduct activities overseas or support overseas organisations.
The External Conduct Standards require charities to take reasonable steps to ensure appropriate standards of behaviour and governance and oversight when undertaking activities or providing funding overseas.
The purpose of the standards is to ensure that funds sent and services provided outside of Australia are reaching the people they are meant to reach and are being used for legitimate purposes. They are also intended to minimise the risk of funds being misused (fraud, corruption, illegal activities) and of children and vulnerable people being exploited.
There are four standards:
- a standard on the activities and control of resources
- a standard on the annual review of overseas activities and record-keeping
- a standard on anti-fraud and anti-corruption; and
- a standard on the protection of vulnerable individuals
What does this mean for our congregation?
If your congregation is registered with the ACNC and has a direct relationship with a partner congregation, organisation or school overseas (eg through a volunteer program) and sends funds or supplies (eg educational items) to support them, it is subject to these standards.
Please note: if the congregation supports the LCA’s International Mission or ALWS, these organisations are responsible to comply with these standards.
How do we comply with the standards?
The steps your congregation will need to take to comply with the standards will vary according to your particular circumstances, such as the size of your engagement, where your funding comes from, and the nature of the activities. A few steps that need to be considered include, but are not limited to:
- Investigate your proposed overseas partner to ensure that they will use the money and items for the stated purposes and will not use the funds for illegal purposes.
- Collect and store appropriate financial records confirming where the money has been spent and/or sent, including the names of the overseas entities. As part of this, you will need to ensure that the money is being distributed appropriately by the overseas entity and is not being shared unfairly.
- Review the project annually to ensure that the entity continues to support what you are funding. Does your project support ensure the safety of children and other vulnerable people supported by the overseas entity?
- Review any project that your congregation supports overseas. Ensure that records are maintained detailing who is the organiser of the project (company and/or individuals) and what are the specific details of the project, including whom it is benefitting; ensure that it is not supporting illegal activities; maintain financial data related to the project; and receive and store an annual review confirmation.
Where do I find out more?
Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page.
For more detailed information, please visit the ACNC website.
Please be aware that this information is very new and there may be changes to the standards and the requirements for complying with the standards. Please keep up to date via the ACNC website.