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Compliance checklist

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As a charity or voluntary organisation, make sure you know about the legislation and regulation that applies to you and how to ensure compliance.

A vital component of organisational effectiveness is ensuring compliance with legislation. This involves not only being sure of all of the legislation that applies to your organisation and complying with it, but also being able to demonstrate compliance by keeping records of checks, having policies and procedures around the legislation, and evidencing that people are taking responsibility for compliance.

The five key areas of compliance for voluntary organisations are:

  1. as a charity: compliance with your governing document
  2. as a charity: compliance with the Charity Act and, where applicable, the Companies Act (see more about charity law)
  3. as an employer: compliance with employment legislation
  4. as an organisation: compliance with essential policies such as data protection and health and safety
  5. as a fundraiser or when accepting funding: compliance with fundraising law.

Your organisation must also ensure that it meets its legal obligations in other areas to mitigate its risks. These include:

  • complying with lease, licence or tenancy agreements
  • complying with contracts, for example for photocopiers and vehicles
  • having relevant insurances, displaying a current Employers' Liability certificate, having public liability insurance covering general risks such as fire, theft, flooding and legal action
  • maintaining accurate and secure financial records and information and complying with income tax, national insurance, VAT and other tax regulations
  • maintaining bank accounts, loans, overdrafts and investments according to agreements (including reserves, ethical considerations and risk).


We have produced a compliance checklist of legal and regulatory issues that need to be covered by most voluntary organisations. The checklist can be customised to suit your organisation. For NCVO members there is also a free organisational management calendar template to list your key actions and dates in one document.

Page last edited Jun 24, 2021
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Charity law

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