To be registered, organisations must certify that each of their officers is qualified as an officer under the Charities Act 2005.

When you apply to register your organisation, you must certify in the application form that all your officers are qualified in terms of the Act. 

The Charities Act 2005 may define officers differently to the way your rules define them. 

If your organisation is a trust, your officers are all your current trustees (including any custodian trustee) and no one else.

If your organisation is not a trust, your officers are all the members of your highest governing body and all people in a position to have significant influence over the management or administration of the charity. An officer may be a person or a body corporate (for example, a company).

If you do not have trustees, a board, or governing body, your officers are all the people in a position to have significant influence over your management or administration. In some cases, such as a co-operative, the officers may be all the members.

Charities Services recommends you have at least three officers.

Note: Check your rules to see if they specify how many trustees or governing body members you must have. For example if they specify five trustees you must certify five trustees.

Officer qualification

Officers need to certify to Charities Services that they fit the criteria to be an officer of a charitable entity. There are a range of factors that may prevent someone from being qualified as an officer under the Charities Act 2005, for example, if they are under 16 years old, an undischarged bankrupt, or have been convicted for a crime involving dishonesty. Check out the Officer Certification section on our website for further information.

Conflict of interest

All officers of registered charities have a duty to act in the best interests of their charity. A conflict of interest is any situation in which an officer’s personal interest or loyalties could affect the ability to make a decision in the best interest of the charity. It is common for conflicts of interest to occur in charities of all types and sizes, particularly where officers are related by blood, marriage or domestic partnership. Following good policies and procedures will ensure conflicts of interest don’t affect the decision making. Refer to the Charities Services resource ‘Conflict of interest’ for more information.