Charity-Care case study
You are an external consultant hired to conduct research into and propose an appropriate compliance management system for a large not-for-profit charity called Charity-Care. Charity-Care is based in Brisbane and is a public company that is limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001. It is registered as a charity under the Queensland Collections Act 1966. The organisation has grown quickly to its current size from its single-centre opening just two years ago. Charity-Care is registered for GST and has an ABN: 21 745 368 027.
Charity-Care has about 50 employees, who are assisted in various charity tasks by community volunteers. Charity-Care operates two major frontline community services:
- Community-Care - Two 100-square-metre first-floor drop-in office centres operating in Spring Hill on Brisbane’s Northside and Wooloongabba on Brisbane’s Southside. Community-Care provides counselling services, short-term ‘rent loans’ and $20 supermarket gift food vouchers for people in need. Each centre has a manager, receptionist, office clerk and four counselling staff, and is fitted out with a reception/waiting room, two counselling offices and a staff general office area that includes a kitchenette. Private information is collected on people seeking the counselling services and this information is recorded in a central database that can be accessed from all centre computers. Volunteer staff operate the call centre and conduct visits seeking donations from local businesses and households.
- Computer-Care - A retail business on the CBD fringe that specialises in selling re-conditioned second-hand ex-government computers to needy families for children’s educational purposes. The small, 70-square-metre shop is supported by a 1,000-square-metre warehouse and repair centre in Fairfield, a Brisbane suburb. 50% of the computers are picked up from the shop and 50% are delivered from the warehouse. Computers for repair are dropped off and picked up from the warehouse. Repair costs are paid by the customers to the service centre staff. There is a manager of the Computer-Care initiative who manages both the shop with its 15 employees as well as the warehouse (eight employees) and service centre (four employees).
The head office for Charity-Care is based in Fortitude Valley. This is where the CEO and the business manager have offices. There is a boardroom, reception/waiting area and an open office area where the accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll clerk and bookkeeper each have a workstation.
- Charity-Care CEO – Joan Murphy
- Charity-Care business manager – Jo Tully
- Computer-Care warehouse manager – Jack O’Toole
- Computer-Care retail manager – Mary Taylor
- Woolloongabba Community-Care centre manager – Judith Moore
- Woolloongabba Community-Care centre receptionist – Peggy White
- Spring Hill Community-Care centre manager – Helen Ng
- Spring Hill Community-Care centre receptionist – Julie Jones
- Charity-Care bookkeeper – Jenny Aviel
- Charity-Care payroll clerk – Tom Brown
- Charity-Care accounts receivable clerk – Maggie Saldais
- Charity-Care accounts payable clerk – John Tomlin
Community-Care receives regular funds from a philanthropist entrepreneur who gives a portion of the annual profits from his electrical retail business to the charity. Including this last year, this has amounted to about $800,000 per annum. The call centre raises about $300,000 per annum from local businesses and households.
Computer-Care turns over $1,700,000 per annum: $1,400,000 from the retail business and $300,000 in repair charges. The profit margins are small but the overall net profit is $150,000 per annum. The shop is supported significantly by the landlord, who is providing the fringe CBD shop rent-free for the first five years.
Scenario and policy framework
The CEO has explained to you that the organisation has grown quickly and the management and compliance systems have not had a chance to catch up. Issues were found with the last audit and there has been some disquiet from the association’s stakeholders about the way the association has been managed – particularly in regards to the cash handling processes and the keeping of transaction records. The business manager is totally focused on providing the best possible outcomes for the clients. He is very passionate about making sure they are looked after, but does not really worry too much about issues of control or compliance. The culture of the business is focused on having a good time while helping the community.
The CEO also says that many policies are documented; however, there still remain some training and motivational issues in relation to implementing them appropriately. Some of the policies include:
- risk management policy
- sexual harassment policy
- credit card policy
- expense reimbursement policy
- financial handling policy
- expenses policy
- equal employment opportunity policy
- work health and safety policy.
In asking you to help plan and establish the compliance management system for Charity-Care, the CEO has handed you the current documents relating to the policies and procedures. The CEO has also explained that the association has many compliance requirements under Acts, tax law, and tender agreements. The CEO has also asked you to look into the option of implementing a computerised financial management and payroll system.
You review the previous year’s audit report to management and note that some of the issues the CEO explained still have to be considered and dealt with where needed. The CEO said that the last external audit cost a fortune because there were so many issues with internal controls.
Issues uncovered during the audit include:
- Over 40% of the computer spare parts for Charity-Care are purchased from ‘Compute IT’ – a business that is owned by the warehouse manager’s family.
- The banking of the repair payments from customers does not agree with the total of the receipts issued.
- A cheque was paid to ‘Cheap Computers “R” Us’ for $2,300 but there was no evidence that the goods had been received.
- There are accuracy errors with stocktakes in the computer retail store.
- There are laptops missing from the warehouse, indicating possible fraud.
- There are a lack of prescribed levels on lending limits.
- There has been inappropriate use of the organisation’s assets.
- There are assets on the asset register that are not in their listed location. This is particularly true in regard to printers.
- Some significant transactions are being recorded in the wrong accounting period according to accrual accounting standards.
- There are some notifications from the ATO regarding late lodgement of tax and monthly BAS returns.
A visit to the warehouse uncovered the following:
- The warehouse manager said, ‘Not all customers want us to give them a receipt. They just pay the money and go. That’s why our banking doesn’t always agree with our cash receipts duplicates.’
- When you asked about the suppliers that the warehouse manager purchases spare parts from, he said, ‘Compute IT are great with delivery times and I know the owners really well so I get everything at a good price.’
- The warehouse manager explained further that, ‘Computers move through here so fast it is hard to keep up. So we don’t always record movement in and out of the laptop store room. We just count it at stocktake time.’
- When asked about the cash handling, the warehouse manager said, ‘We are a long way from head office here. So, sometimes I use the proceeds from the repairs to purchase equipment for the warehouse or to repair machinery that needs fixing.’
- One of the warehouse staff said that while most of the goods come into the warehouse via the goods-inward system, sometimes the deal is too good and they go to the supplier, purchase the goods directly and put them into stock. Since the goods come into the warehouse from the charity’s van, they are not checked by the goods-inward clerk, ‘A bit like the time we got five laptops from Cheap Computers “R” Us for a killer price.’
- At your visit to the warehouse you notice that the laptops are all kept in one place in a room, but there is no lock on the door and it is located near the exit to the building. The manager has already explained how ‘…volunteers come and help with the stock management when they get a large delivery. They clean up the computers and make them ready for sale. It’s great. They just come and go as they are able to.’
- One of the repair staff said, ‘The warehouse manager lets me take the delivery truck for the weekend sometimes. Especially if I have some things to move from home. He does not have an issue with it. I think it’s great!’
A visit to the retail store uncovered the following:
- Speaking with the manager of the computer retail store, you discover that stocktakes are done late Friday afternoon rather than Saturday afternoon when the store is shut and, to speed things up, the count is done by individuals and not by teams of two as required in the policy and procedures.
- The retail manager did not think there was any need to have a contingency plan for a fire or any other disaster. She explained that nothing had happened to date and she could not see anything bad happening in the future.
- The retail store manager said in response to the job descriptions for the staff, ‘All Charity-Care employees are pretty switched on. None of the managers need to tell them what to do because they all know. Anyway, we are all so hands-on that the employees can ask us personally if there is a problem. They don’t need job descriptions.’
- The retail store manager said that, ‘Some days it is so busy that we miss the bank. On those days we hide the cash takings in the draw under the cash register.’
- One of the salespeople said, in response to a question you asked about businesspeople coming in to the shop to buy computers, ‘Yeah, we usually charge those people a bit more than when families buy computers. We don’t give them the same good deal we give families because businesspeople can afford it.’
A visit to the counselling centres uncovered the following:
- When inquiring about the way data on people seeking counselling services was kept, you noted that there was no password login on the computer or on the client database. The receptionist at Spring Hill was able to show you the name, address, phone number, and counsellor notes on all the clients that had visited in the past week.
- The Spring Hill receptionist also explained that sometimes the counsellors were too busy to see people and that she would have a chat to the client in the waiting room. She said, ‘I have learned a lot from hearing the counsellors chat in the tearoom and I have a pretty good idea of how to handle people with social and family needs.’
- You asked the receptionist at Spring Hill about the how the banking of the donations is done and she explained that she gets the same people who collect the money to prepare the bank deposits and take it to the bank. ‘I just don’t have the time ... and besides I can’t leave here,’ she said.
- When talking with one of the counsellors, you note that they say, ‘We don’t really have a limit to lend to in relation to rent loans for clients. We all just use our best judgement.’
- In asking about the records relating to the rent loan scheme, the counsellor showed you the form they complete. ‘I just look up the number on the last loan I gave and add a number to it to get the new number. I enter this number at the top of the form here.’
- The managers reported that there was no real forward planning budget. ‘We just ring in and get approval for any expenditure we want to do,’ was the Woolloongabba centre manager’s response.
- In commenting on the number of printers in the Spring Hill centre, the manager said, ‘We do twice the amount of paperwork here as the Woolloongabba centre so I got them to send over two of their printers.’ You also note that there is no asset identification code on the printers.
- None of the employees reported that they were ever tested by managers in regard to their knowledge about the privacy issues of client data, and said that they had not received any information regarding client complaints about their work.
At the head office, the following was observed:
- The CEO said that the business manager is the one who should to sign off on all employment positions; however, you note that the warehouse manager had told you, ‘I just employ the people I need to help with the computer repairs. It’s very technical and the business manager wouldn’t know a good repairman from a bad one.’
- The business manager explained that sometimes the monthly financial reports are not received from the satellite operations until well past the 20th of the following month, when they should be out on the 10th.
- You ask the CEO about job descriptions and she says that she has prepared all the job descriptions for the managers but has left it to the business manager to prepare the job descriptions for the operational staff.
- When you asked the bookkeeper about her recent training and professional development, she said that she had been too busy for the past couple of years to do any. ‘The last professional development I did was a few years ago in regard to changes in the Fringe Benefits Tax law,’ she said.
- The bookkeeper also explained that she keeps the details of what is owed under the rent loan system, but the centres also keep a separate set of records about monies paid out and monies received. ‘Reconciling these two sets of records is a nightmare,’ she said, ‘It’s so much work reconciling accounts that the centres are very protective whenever I ask to do one. They think I don’t trust them, but it’s just my job. The managers tend to back up the centre staff and not us at head office trying to run the checks.’
- The bookkeeper explained that while they are supposed to be keeping the accounts on an accrual basis, ‘…sometimes it just gets too busy to do the end-of-month adjustments so we don’t always do it.’
- The bookkeeper explained that no one comes to check on her work. ‘Everyone is so focused on providing help for the clients, no one really knows or cares about the recording of the financial information. Sometimes I wish we had a better computerised accounting system that integrated all aspects automatically. The lack of support for the importance of control systems is pretty demoralising. Sometimes I feel like saying, “If they don’t care why should I?”’
- The bookkeeper explained that she seemed to get most of the client complaint calls. She would take down all the details and pass them on to the previous business manager. She was not sure how these complaints were dealt with, but she thought that the number of complaints was increasing.
- The payroll clerk explained that he had not been given any training on the computerised payroll system so he did most of the work manually and only entered the totals into the system. He also said that he got no paperwork regarding pay rate changes, just a verbal chat with the previous business manager: ‘I just took down notes as she spoke.’ He further explained, ‘I keep all the staff records in the filing cabinets that are used by the accounts clerks as well. Sometimes they forget to lock them and I find them open in the morning when I come to work.’
- The payroll clerk explained that sometimes the timesheets come to him for payment but they are not signed. He tries to get them signed but sometimes there is no time, so he just processes them without a signature.
- The accounts clerks said, ‘Everyone just sticks with what they know best. No one rotates or changes roles. It’s too much to learn anyway.’
Charity-Care policies and procedures
Work health and safety policy
Charity-Care cares about the safety of its people and recognises that injuries result in needless suffering to individuals and their families.
Charity-Care is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for its employees, contractors and visitors.
All Charity-Care employees, whatever their role, carry the primary responsibility to ensure that the work they undertake or supervise is carried out safely and without injury. Charity-Care’s first priority must always be the wellbeing of its employees. No task is so important that a person’s safety is put at risk. All accidents are preventable, and Charity-Care is therefore committed to the goal of ‘no injuries’.
In the event of a workplace hazard or injury, an incident/hazard report form must be completed and submitted to the workplace health and safety office. The form must detail:
- incident date
- name of person who submitted report
- time of incident/hazard
- location of incident/hazard
- incident/hazard type
- description of incident/hazard
- persons involved
- injuries sustained
- description of injuries
actions taken to minimise hazard or reduce risk post-incident.
Equal employment opportunity policy
In keeping with the federal government legislation to promote equal employment opportunity, Charity-Care is committed to the promotion of equal opportunity for all persons including women, people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island descent, people of all racial and ethnic groups and people with disabilities.
Equal employment opportunity means that merit and equity will form the basis of all employment, training, and promotion decisions that affect employees at the workplace.
Charity-Care accepts that as an employer it has a responsibility to eliminate and ensure the continued absence from within its structure any source of direct or indirect discrimination on the basis of any factors not related to work performance, including race, colour, national or ethnic origin, nationality, sex, marital status, pregnancy, age, status as a parent or carer, political conviction, social origin or impairment.
In practice, Charity-Care’s EEO policy means:
- For job applicants:
- fair recruitment procedures
- opportunities for non-traditional jobs for women and men
- merit-based access to jobs for members of designated groups, including people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island descent, people of all racial and ethnic groups and people with disabilities.
- For employees:
- no unjustified barriers to advancement for any members of staff
- elimination of unjustified discrimination in selection and promotion processes
- appropriate training and development opportunities for all staff, including women and members of designated groups
- opening up of business decision-making processes to staff.
Charity-Care is committed to the principles of the legislation and seeks your support in implementing the equal opportunity program.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure you are properly reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses related to direct expenses for work-related activities, and that Charity-Care is able to claim on taxable expenses.
Meals and entertainment
As a general rule, meals and entertainment necessary for the conduct of business should not be lavish, extravagant or unreasonably costly.
The business meal/drink
A meal is classed as a business meal and is reimbursable when the purpose of the meal is a business discussion in line with business goals.
One employee may not entertain another except when a client is present or:
- when one employee is away from home
- when the discussion cannot, for reasons of privacy or other pertinent business purposes, be conducted on business premises.
In order to qualify for business use, the entertainment must:
- be fully documented and explained in the expense report
- be for a business purpose and not just general goodwill.
Reimbursement of small expenses/temporary cash advance
In some situations, it may be necessary to use cash and claim the reimbursement of these expenses via a cheque requisition or petty cash.
- Always obtain a tax invoice; without one, Charity-Care may not be able to reimburse you.
- Parking expenses incurred while working will be reimbursed against receipts.
- Until previous cash advances have been accounted for, further cash advances are not allowed. You must reconcile all cash advances and attach appropriate receipts with an expense statement.
- You will be required to sign for the advance before it is issued.
- An expense reimbursement form must be completed and submitted with receipts to claim reimbursement. The form must detail:
- employee name
- date of purchase
- expense type
- client ID number
- purchase amount.
Financial handling policy
Authority to sign cheques
To spell out procedures that must be followed in the signing of cheques on behalf of Charity-Care.
- All cheques must contain two eligible signatures.
- Eligible signatories are board members or staff members who have been previously nominated and endorsed by the board.
- Any two of the above have the authority to sign cheques.
- Signatories cannot sign a cheque made payable to themselves.
- A list of all cheques issued each month will be provided to the treasurer.
To spell out procedures that must be followed in the reimbursement of expenses incurred on behalf of Charity-Care.
Charity-Care will reimburse its staff (including volunteers) any reasonable and authorised expenses incurred by them on behalf of Charity-Care or in the course of Charity-Care business.
- Charity-Care will not reimburse staff for:
- Expenses claimed by an employee as a tax deduction.
- Expenses normally recoverable from a third party.
- Claims for purchases that are required to be made under a Charity-Care purchase order.
- Expenses that are not incurred for business purposes.
- Late payment interest on credit cards.
- Parking, traffic, or other fines and penalties.
- In travel expenses:
- Employees will be reimbursed for the most direct and economical mode of travel available, considering all of the circumstances.
- Employees will not be reimbursed for additional costs incurred by taking indirect routes or making stopovers for personal reasons.
- Use of an employee’s own vehicle for work-related travel will be reimbursed by way of an all-inclusive mileage allowance.
- Trip cancellation insurance will be reimbursed.
- For accommodation:
- Employees will be reimbursed for moderate accommodation expenses, considering all of the circumstances.
- Employees will not be reimbursed for items of a personal nature charged to a hotel account.
- When accommodation is provided by an employee’s friend or relative to whom the employee gives money or a gift as compensation or as a sign of appreciation, the employee may claim an overnight accommodation expense in accordance with per diem rates.
- For the employee’s own meals:
- Employees will be reimbursed for reasonable and appropriate meal expenses actually incurred while on Charity-Care business.
- When the staff member is offering hospitality on behalf of Charity-Care:
- Employees will be reimbursed for hospitality expenses incurred in the course of Charity-Care business, as appropriate.
- Appropriate hospitality charges include events hosted or sponsored for the purpose of promoting Charity-Care’s work or enhancing its image, and include meals that are related to the transaction of Charity-Care business.
- When Charity-Care employees dine together while on Charity-Care business, it is appropriate for the senior person (if any) to arrange payment and submit the claim for reimbursement.
- Reimbursement of reasonable but unauthorised expenses may be made at the discretion of the Business Manager.
- Advance payments may be authorised where appropriate. Such payments will be subtracted from the amount of any later reimbursements. If, for whatever reason, expenditure is not incurred, then any advance payments made, or any unspent portion of such payments, must be returned.
- Staff are authorised to approve expenses to the amount specified in their individual job description, and for expenditure above this level must seek specific authorisation from their supervisors.
- Receipts, invoices, vouchers, tickets, or other evidence of such expenditure must be retained for all purchases and expenses.
- Staff incurring authorised expenditure must submit requests for reimbursement to the designated person, using the expense reimbursement form. The completed form must be signed by the applicant.
- Expense reimbursement forms must be presented with all relevant original receipts, invoices, vouchers, tickets, or other evidence of such expenditure when seeking reimbursement. Where such evidence is for any reason lacking, statutory declarations may be sought.
- The designated person is responsible for determining if the expenses being claimed are reasonable given the circumstances, and for ensuring that they are charged against the appropriate account, and that any requirements under the fringe benefits tax legislation have been met.
- Claims that have not been properly prepared, authorised, or supported by adequate documentation will be returned to the claimant and reasons will be given in writing for not processing the claim.
Credit card policy
The purpose of this policy is to:
- Ensure that organisational transactions are carried out as efficiently as possible through the use of credit cards and transaction cards as appropriate.
- Guard against any possible abuse of organisational credit cards.
1. Card issue:
The organisational credit card may only be issued to a board member, staff member, or volunteer where their functions and duties would be enhanced by the use of an organisational credit card. Cards will thus be issued only to people on the approved organisational credit card list. The approved organisational credit card list shall be held by the CEO.
Other persons may be added to the list by the board. The board may delegate this power to any or all of:
- the finance committee
- the CEO
- the auditor.
Cards may be issued on a temporary basis and recovered afterwards.
Each organisational credit card will be issued to a specific person, who will remain personally accountable for the use of the card. Cardholders will sign the credit card issue form.
Only the authorised signatory may use the card. No more than one card shall be issued per cardholder. Credit limits as appropriate shall be set for each card by the issuing authority.
2. Cardholder responsibilities:
The cardholder shall:
- in all cases obtain and retain sufficient supporting documentation (e.g. a tax invoice) to validate the expense, or shall in lieu provide a statutory declaration
- attach these supporting documents to the monthly statement from the bank
- review the monthly statement for inaccuracies (and report these to the CEO)
- verify that the goods and services listed were received
- sign the monthly statement to verify that transactions have been made for official purposes
- forward the papers to the authorised signatory for approval (the board chair shall authorise payments to the CEO; the CEO shall authorise the expenditure of all other cardholders)
- notify the bank and the CEO (or in the case of the CEO, the board chair) immediately if:
- the card is lost or stolen
- any unauthorised transaction is detected or suspected
- notify the CEO of any change in name or contact details
- take adequate measures to ensure the security of the card
- return the card to the CEO if:
- the cardholder resigns
- the CEO determines that there is no longer a need for the cardholder to retain his or her card
- the organisational credit card has been cancelled by the bank
- be personally liable for any unauthorised transaction unless the card is lost, stolen or subject to fraud on some part of a third party.
The cardholder shall not:
- exceed any maximum limits set, from time to time, for the organisational credit card
- obtain cash advances through the organisational credit card
- use the card for any proscribed purchases
- authorise their own expenditure
- claim double allowances (i.e. request reimbursement for an expense already paid by the card).
Credit card expenditure:
The card will only be used for those activities that are a direct consequence of the cardholder’s function within the organisation.
Where coincident and/or private expenditure occurs on the same transaction (where, for example, a person incurs a debt for personal telephone calls during a hotel stay) the cardholder must settle the private expense prior to charging the balance on the organisational credit card.
Where doubt exists as to whether or not an item is function-related, prior authorisation should be obtained from the CEO (or, in the case of the CEO’s own card, the chairperson of the board or the chairperson of the finance committee).
The use of the corporate card for ‘services of a dubious nature’ is expressly prohibited. ‘Services of a dubious nature’ are defined as any goods
4. Credit card misconduct:
Wherever a breach in this policy occurs, the CEO must assess the nature of the breach and, if significant, report the breach to the police for criminal investigation or, if lesser in nature, institute an appropriate disciplinary process:
- in the first instance, counselling and/or verbal warning (and diary or file note created)
- in the second instance, a written warning
- in the third instance, or if the dollar amount is greater than $1000, the card is to be immediately withdrawn.
At the next finance committee meeting the CEO shall report:
- the investigation of the circumstances of the breach
- police reports and action (if any)
- disciplinary action taken (if any).
Charity-Care accounts receivable policy
The purpose of this document is to define the accounting policies and procedures in respect of the recording, collection and reporting of moneys owed to Charity-Care.
The intent of all interactions between Charity-Care staff and customers or clients of Charity-Care is that all inquires are to be handled in a tactful and diplomatic manner.
- Collect details from client, without offering comment or opinion.
- Confirm that you or another Charity-Care representative will get back to them within 24 hours to speak with them on the matter.
- Review the client/customer file:
- If the matter is the result of a data entry error:
- correct the error
- notify your direct supervisor in an emailed report, and ask for confirmation of your actions
- when you receive confirmation, contact the client/customer by phone (or other means if no contact number) to inform them of changes.
- If the matter is not related to a data entry error:
- collate all details of the matter
- outline possible causes or reasons
- notify your direct supervisor in an emailed report and ask them to manage the issue, or for clear direction so that you can manage it.
Charity-Care raises invoices for the sale of goods and services to external organisations and individuals. A debtor is an organisation or individual who owes Charity-Care money for goods and services provided.
Debt collection process
Debts are to be collected as outlined in the following process diagram, with attention being paid to ensure that any actions taken by the accounts receivable department are recorded in the client file. This can be in the form of:
- inserting copies of correspondence (from or to the client)
- writing notes on the client file (dated and initialled)
- updating status of client debt (especially in regard to the debt collection decision matrix shown below)
- other relevant or supporting information.
Debt collection decision matrix
Debt collection agency
Over 90 days
- Run Aged Debtors Report on 1st of every month.
- Complete Bad/Doubtful Debts Report by the 10th of every month.
- Accounts over 90 days overdue to be handled by the manager – documents to be filed separately in the manager’s office.
- All contact with debtors to be recorded on file – should include copies of invoices, correspondence and log of phone calls.
- 5% 7 days, OR
- Nett 30 days from statement.
Sexual harassment policy
Charity-Care recognises that sexual harassment is a serious issue and is committed to providing a workplace free from sexual harassment.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is any deliberate verbal or physical conduct that is unwelcome and uninvited, embarrassing, demeaning, offensive or compromising. It can be experienced anywhere in the workforce and by both men and women.
It has nothing to do with mutual attraction or genuine affection between people. Such friendships, whether sexual or not, are a private concern. It should not be confused with genuine compliments or behaving with common courtesy.
Sexual harassment may include such actions as:
- dirty jokes, derogatory comments, offensive written messages (email/SMS), or offensive telephone calls
- leering, patting, pinching, touching or unnecessary familiarity
- persistent demands for sexual favours or outings
- displays of offensive posters, pictures or graffiti.
Such behaviour is against the law if it makes you feel:
- offended and humiliated
- intimidated and frightened
- uncomfortable at work.
Charity-Care considers sexual harassment an unacceptable form of behaviour which will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
Charity-Care undertakes to educate all employees on the issue of sexual harassment to avoid its incidence and to inform employees of procedures to deal with the problem should it occur.
Charity-Care is committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of our clients and supporters. Charity-Care supports and is bound by the Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles. A copy of the Australian Privacy Principles can be found at <http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-act/australian-privacy-principles>.
Privacy and our clients
Protecting the privacy and confidentiality of the people we help is essential in preserving dignity and providing respectful assistance. Personal client information is collected and used by Charity-Care, only with client consent, in order to provide the best possible assistance and:
- to assess if clients meet eligibility criteria for specific assistance
- for internal reporting purposes
- to continuously develop and improve our assistance programs
- to assess the effectiveness of our assistance programs
- to assess the nature of need in the community
- to plan our future programs.
Consent is always sought in using personal and sensitive information for research purposes. This information, however, is always de-identified prior to analysis, and individual clients cannot be identified from any research analysis or report.
Client information is never disclosed to other organisations or individuals without the client’s consent, unless they are working directly on our behalf or we are required to do so by law.
In some cases, personal information (but never sensitive information) is supplied to contractors (for example freight companies or research agencies) who perform some of these tasks directly on our behalf, and who must sign strict privacy and security agreements and who are also bound by the Australian Privacy Principles. These agreements ensure that these contractors keep personal information confidential and do not use it for any other purpose other than the work we have contracted them to perform.
Protection of personal information
Charity-Care also actively seeks to ensure that all personal information we collect is protected from misuse, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. We have internal data protection and electronic data transmission procedures; all donations and communications made online via our website are secure.
Clients can obtain copies of their personal information held by Charity-Care, correct their personal records, obtain further information about how Charity-Care manages personal information, or lodge a complaint about the handling of their personal information by contacting the Charity-Care head office.
Charity-Care risk management policy
Risk is inherent in all business activities. The aim of this policy is not to eliminate risk, but rather to manage the risks involved in all Charity-Care activities in order to maximise opportunities and minimise adversity.
Effective risk management requires:
- a strategic focus
- forward thinking and active approaches to management
- balance between the cost of managing risk and the anticipated benefits
- contingency planning in the event that mission-critical threats are realised.
Charity-Care will maintain procedures to provide a systematic view of the risks faced in the course of our business activities.
- Establish a context: the strategic, organisational and risk management context against which the rest of the risk management process in Charity-Care will take place. Criteria against which risk will be evaluated should be established, and the structure of the risk analysis defined.
- Identify risks: identification of what, why and how events arise as the basis for further analysis.
- Analyse risks: the determination of existing controls and the analysis of risks in terms of the consequence and likelihood in the context of those controls. The analysis should consider the range of potential consequences and how likely those consequences are to occur. Consequence and likelihood are combined to produce a priority rating for the risk.
- Treat risks: for higher priority risks, Charity-Care is required to develop and implement specific risk management plans, including funding considerations. Lower priority risks may be accepted and monitored.
- Monitor and review: oversight and review of the risk management system and any changes that might affect it. Monitoring and reviewing occur concurrently throughout the risk management process.
- Communication and consultation: appropriate communication and consultation with internal and external stakeholders should occur at each stage of the risk management process as well as on the process as a whole.
Registering not-for-profit or charitable organisations
The company structure
Under a company structure, charitable or not-for-profit organisations will generally be registered as public companies that are limited by guarantee. Limited by guarantee means the liability of the company's members is limited to the amount the members undertake to contribute to the property of the company if it is wound up.
Registration of a company creates a legal entity separate from its members. The company can hold property and can sue and be sued.
Companies are registered under the Corporations Act 2001, which is Commonwealth legislation administered by ASIC. A company's registration is recognised Australia-wide.
At the very least, a public company must:
Source: ASIC, ‘Registering not for profit or charitable organisations’, viewed July 2015, <http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/asic.nsf/byheadline/Registering+not-for-profit+or+charitable+organisations>
- have at least three directors and one secretary
- have at least one member
- have a registered office address and principal place of business located in Australia
- have its registered office open and accessible to the public
- be internally managed by a constitution or replaceable rules
- maintain a register of its members
- keep a record of all directors' and members' meeting minutes and resolutions
- appoint a registered company auditor within one month of its registration
- keep proper financial records
- prepare, have audited, and lodge financial statements and reports at the end of every financial year
- send to its members a copy of its financial statements and reports, unless the member has a standing arrangement with the company not to receive them
- hold an annual general meeting once every calendar year within five months of the end of its financial year
- receive and review an annual company statement and pay an annual review fee. A charitable or not-for-profit company may be eligible for a reduced annual review fee if it meets the criteria under the definition of 'special purpose company' in regulation 3(a), (b), (c) or (d) of the Corporations (Review Fees) Regulations 2003
- lodge notices whenever changes to its officeholders, office addresses, constitution and name occur within specified timeframes as determined by the Corporations Act 2001. As a general guide please refer to ‘Legal obligations of a company’ on the ASIC website <http://www.asic.gov.au/companies> for more information.
A company limited by guarantee may also be registered without the word 'Limited' in its name. This is only possible if its constitution:
- requires the company to pursue charitable purposes only and to apply its income promoting those purposes; and
- prohibits the company making distributions to its members and paying fees to its directors; and
- requires the directors to approve all other payments the company makes to directors.
State and territory government requirements – fundraising
Relevant authority – Office of Fair Trading, Queensland
The Office of Fair Trading administers the Collections Act 1966, which controls how charities and community purpose organisations conduct appeals for public support or fundraising in Queensland. Any organisation that wants to publicly fundraise for a charitable or community purpose is governed by this act.
Activities regulated by the Office of Fair Trading under the Collections Act 1966 include:
- fundraising appeals
- door-to-door appeals and street collections, and
- commercial appeals on behalf of charities by entrepreneurs.
Under the Collections Act 1966, you may require either of the following two approvals.
Source: Australian Taxation Office, ‘State and territory government requirements – Fundraising’, viewed July 2015, <https://www.ato.gov.au/Non-profit/State-and-territory/In-detail/Fundraising-requirements/State-and-territory-government-requirements---Fundraising>.
Registering a charity:
- To be registered as a charity, an association’s objectives must meet the definition of ‘charitable purpose’ under the Collections Act 1966. The applicant needs to complete Form 1 – Application for registration of a charity and lodge it with the Department for approval.
- If approved, the Department will issue the applicant with Form 2 – Certificate of registration as a charity. It is a one-off requirement for each charity to register if it intends conducting appeals for support. A registered charity may continue to fundraise until its registration is cancelled or it is directed to cease fundraising.
Obtaining a sanction for authority to fundraise
Organisations wanting to fundraise or conduct an appeal for a community purpose may be required to apply for a sanction. The applicant needs to complete Form 5 – Application for a sanction and lodge it with the Department for approval.
If approved, the Department will issue the applicant with Form 6 – Certificate of sanction. The organisation may continue to fundraise until the sanction expires or it is cancelled or the organisation is directed to cease fundraising.
Conducting a door-to-door appeal or street collection
Once registered as a charity or a sanction is obtained, certain rules must be followed when making door-to-door appeals and street collections. The applicant needs to complete Form 8 – Application to have a day assigned for a door-to-door appeal or street collection and lodge it with the Department for approval. If approved, the applicant will receive either Form 9 – Assignment of day for door-to-door appeal or Form 10 – Assignment of day for street collection, depending on which of the two approvals is sought.
Other issues to consider
Registered charities and sanctioned organisations must have their financial records audited annually. A copy of the audited financial statement must be submitted to the Department within seven months of the end of the organisation’s financial year. A current copy of the organisation’s constitution must be held at the Department. The public can search these documents for a small fee.