In the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, NFP Resource was engaged with the legal department at Companies Office over alternative arrangements for non-profits who were unable to meet. We were primarily concerned over annual accounts and returns but also about the legalities of meetings. We were able to respond with the advice to those organisations that we were supporting.

The Companies Office have now posted the following advice and information on their website:

“A COVID-19 Response Bill has passed into law that includes provisions enabling the use of electronic means (including electronic voting and the use of electronic signatures) when an entity’s constitution or rules don’t permit this.

The use of electronic communications where otherwise not permitted, requires that the majority of the entity’s governing officers believe in good faith that it is not reasonably practicable to carry out the task by non-electronic means. These tasks are:

  1. having or recording information in writing
  2. calling or holding meetings, including for the purpose of establishing a quorum
  3. voting (though there are some matters that electronic voting can’t be used for)
  4. giving or receiving information
  5. making or keeping new records
  6. providing access to records or information held by or on behalf of the entity
  7. signing any instrument
  8. retaining any information.

The website contains links to the relevant legislation (COVID-19 Response (Requirements For Entities – Modifications  and Exemptions) Act 2020) and other relevant information and advice.