Finance and Property policy: Financial management

Our policy on managing finances in Girlguiding, including Gift Aid, banking, annual reports and assets

Girlguiding is financed by:

  • subscriptions from members
  • the surplus from its Trading Service
  • income from investments and deposits
  • other sources, e.g. grants, royalties, donations and legacies.

A summary of Girlguiding's accounts is published in its Annual Report. For a copy of the full accounts contact the Girlguiding Finance and Business Development department.

Those responsible for charity money are legally obliged to maintain proper accounting records. Every District, Division and County Commissioner and every Country or Region Chief Commissioner is encouraged to appoint a Treasurer to manage the financial affairs of the area for which she is responsible.

Individuals responsible for funds are required to undergo an enhanced criminal record disclosure check.

It is the responsibility of the Commissioner to see that the accounts are examined or audited and forwarded for scrutiny or filing as appropriate. Copies of the accounts should be made available to Leaders and others in the area, and must by law be provided to members of the public on request.

District, Division and County Commissioners, and Country or Region Chief Commissioners, are responsible for the financial soundness of their areas.

Local guiding accounts

A unit is responsible for its own financial affairs, although it may delegate some fundraising to a Friends of Guiding group. The Unit Leader may delegate the record-keeping to another responsible adult but she remains responsible for ensuring that the accounts are properly maintained.

The Unit Leader:

  • is entrusted with the safe keeping of the unit's funds
  • is responsible for seeing that a proper account of the funds is kept
  • if delegating the accounts to a Unit Treasurer, must review them herself on a quarterly basis
  • must ensure that anyone managing unit accounts, who is not a member of the unit leadership team, is registered on Go! as a Unit Treasurer
  • must ensure that the accounts are independently reviewed each year
  • must ensure that a simple annual report statement is written to accompany the annual accounts.

The Unit Leader need not do all management of funds herself. In The Senior Section, for example, the Look Wider team or equivalent may manage the unit's funds and make decisions regarding their use. However, the Leader is ultimately responsible for the accounts.

The local Commissioner must ensure that unit accounts are prepared and formally examined in accordance with the Charities Acts (and, in England and Wales, filed) when annual income exceeds £25,000. Where annual income and expenditure is below £25,000 (£5,000 for Scotland) it is a Girlguiding requirement to have the accounts independently reviewed each year.

Find out the minimum standard of record keeping for units and other useful information about legal obligations and recommendations.

In Scotland

Charities' accounting is regulated by:

  • the Law Reform (miscellaneous provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990
  • the Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 1992
  • the Statement of Recommended Practice for Accounting by Charities.

The requirements for annual year-end accounts differ from those in England and Wales. Details and advice can be obtained from the office of Girlguiding Scotland.

Gift Aid

Gift Aid can be claimed on annual and weekly subscriptions, and is worth approximately 25 per cent of the total amount received. Unit Leaders are encouraged to make full use of Gift Aid or other appropriate sources of external funding to supplement their unit funds.

Salvation Army affiliated units

The rules and guidelines for Salvation Army affiliated unit finances are given in Orders and Regulations for Leaders of Salvation Army Affiliated Units in the United Kingdom (available from the Salvation Army but not from Girlguiding).

BGIFC units

Guidance on bank accounts, auditing and other financial matters can be obtained from the BGIFC office.

Branch Associations

Each Branch Association is required to comply with its own country's financial and accounting legislation. A copy of the completed accounts must be sent to the Adviser for Branch Associations at Girlguiding Headquarters with the Association's annual census.

Annual report and accounts (where income or expenditure exceeds £25,000)

An area's report and accounts must be prepared annually, and examined or audited in accordance with the recommended best practice of the Charities Acts, or, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the appropriate equivalent legislation on accounting requirements.

A copy must be forwarded to the appropriate Commissioner as follows:

  • unit accounts to the District Commissioner (Division Commissioner where no District exists)
  • District accounts to the Division Commissioner (County Commissioner where no Division exists)
  • Division accounts to the County Commissioner
  • County accounts to the Country or Region Chief Commissioner
  • copies of Country and Region accounts must be sent to the Finance and Business Development department at Girlguiding Headquarters; copies of Scottish County accounts must be sent to Business Management and Finance at SHQ for information and review.

In Scotland:

An area's accounts must be prepared annually in accordance with the relevant Scottish legislation. A copy must be forwarded to the appropriate Commissioner. The District Commissioner (or Division Commissioner where no District exists) must ensure that unit accounts are prepared and, where necessary, are formally examined in accordance with the appropriate legislation when annual income or expenditure exceeds £5,000.

Expenses

Members are encouraged to claim all legitimate expenses. To comply with the law governing charities, only out-of-pocket expenses that are actually incurred in connection with guiding activities may be refunded out of unit funds. Any allowance based on a standard scale must be consistent with expenses that would be incurred, and should not be paid unless the expenditure is incurred. All expenses must be properly accounted for and audited.

Banking

All funds held on behalf of members of Girlguiding (other than petty cash, which must be kept to a minimum for reasons of security) must be:

  • kept in the name of the unit, District, Division, County, Country or Region in a bank or building society account (preferably where bank charges are not levied)
  • or invested on behalf of the area concerned.

There must be at least two signatures for a withdrawal from any bank or building society account. The people who sign (signatories) must not be related to one another. It is recommended that every account has three signatories, with two being required to make a withdrawal.

Members and recognised volunteers are encouraged not to use their personal credit cards to purchase goods for guiding activities. This is to avoid volunteers taking on personal debt for guiding purposes. If a volunteer chooses to use a personal credit card this should only be done if the funds are available for immediate reimbursement through expenses. Interest charged on a credit card is not a valid unit expense.

Electronic and online banking

Electronic banking is only allowed when dual authorisation is provided by the bank as mandatory for all external payments. Online payments may be made from the unit’s bank account but if, and only if, the unit’s bank account allows the same 'dual authorisation' controls to be applied as are applied to the writing of cheques.

Cash and investments

See 'Property management'

Assets from an inactive unit

All unit or area equipment, property, cash and investments belong to Girlguiding.

If a unit is inactive, its funds and property are held 'in trust' by the District (or Division, where no District exists) for up to one year, after which time the assets must be disposed of as outlined below.

When a unit, area, Local Management Committee, Friends of Guiding group or Trefoil Guild is disbanded, its assets must be dealt with in accordance with the terms of the governing constitution and/or trust deed.

If there is no such constitution or trust deed, the assets:

  • are deemed to belong to Girlguiding
  • are used for Girlguiding or Trefoil Guild purposes (as appropriate) in the same area (except for units attached to HM Forces or The Salvation Army, where different arrangements may apply).

On disbandment, all property and the unit registration certificate must be handed over immediately to the relevant Commissioner acting on behalf of Girlguiding. Unless otherwise stated in a constitution or trust deed the District, Division or County Committee (as appropriate) assumes the responsibilities of any disbanded unit or Friends of Guiding group. The local Commissioner must ensure that full records are kept and that the unit, and all of the individuals in it, are made inactive on Go!.

Published: 8 September 2016