Charity Commission guidance serves as useful reminder for academy trusts


Academy Trusts have a duty to report 'serious incidents' to the ESFA in accordance with their funding agreements and Charity Commission guidance. 

The Commission's recent work on safeguarding and serious incident reporting has concluded with the publication of new revised guidance this Autumn. 

A serious incident is an adverse event, whether actual or alleged, which results in or risks significant:

  • harm to your charity’s beneficiaries, staff, volunteers or others who come into contact with your charity

  • loss of your charity’s money or assets

  • damage to your charity’s property

  • harm to your charity’s work or reputation

What are the key changes?

There is now an express obligation on trustees to make a timely report. 

There is now a duty to report incidents which harm, or might harm, staff, volunteers and "others who come into contact with your charity".  Previously, harm was limited to beneficiaries. 

For academy trusts with sponsors and / or trading companies, trustees should be particularly aware of the heading "incidents involving partners" in the examples table.  

What to do if you are unsure about making a report

If in doubt whether to report, we recommend you contact your legal advisers and /or your usual ESFA contact. 

Jaime Hobday is senior associate at leading education law firm VWV. Jaime can be contacted 0121 227 3703 or at

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