Officer Kit

This section is designed to help you understand the responsibilities of being a certified officer. It also provides information about Charities Services and the benefits and obligations of being a Registered Charity, answers some common questions, and recommends useful resources.

The role of Charities Services

Charities Services, Ngā Ratonga Kaupapa Atawhai is part of the Department of Internal Affairs, and administers the Charities Act 2005. Our role is to promote public trust and confidence in the charitable sector and to encourage the effective use of charitable resources. We do this by registering and monitoring charities and processing Annual Returns. We also encourage good governance and management practices by providing educational support, advice and materials.

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Benefits and obligations of being registered

Being a Registered Charity brings with it a number of benefits, and some obligations. 

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Who are your officers and what do they do?

Officers of a charitable entity are responsible for ensuring that their organisation is run in accordance with its rules and the requirements of the Charities Act 2005. In particular, an officer needs to ensure that their organisation’s funds and assets are used exclusively to advance the charitable purposes of the organisation. Your organisation’s charitable purposes are stated in its rules document, so one of the most important roles of an officer is to have a thorough understanding of these rules.

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Financial management

As an officer, you are responsible for the financial sustainability of your organisation and ensuring funds and assets are used to advance your organisation’s charitable purposes. It's critical that financial accounting and reporting systems in your organisation are accurate and transparent.

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Conflict of interest

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.

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Personal liability

People often ask us to clarify their personal liabilities as an officer of a charity. Your personal liability depends on the structure of your charity.

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Resolving disputes

Sometimes, disputes can occur between a charity’s members, within its governing and management bodies or between the charity and a third party such as a landlord or supplier. It is important that the officers of a charity resolve internal disputes quickly, because they can harm how a charity operates.

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Winding up a charity

A Registered Charity may wind-up at any stage. This means that the charity will discontinue their activities and cease to exist. The process of winding up will be different for each charity depending on its legal structure and rules.

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