- March 20, 2020
- Posted by: Faith Associates
- Category: Uncategorized
MOSQUE LEADERSHIP/TRUSTEES: DUTY OF CARE – COVID-19
***This advice has been prepared from 3rd party sourses with additions from Faith Associates team based on health and safety directives, governmental, NCVO and WHO advice***
Following requests for advice on the risks posted to Trustees/Directors of Mosques and other places of congregation, we wish to point out the following:
We know many of you have dedicated your lives in establishing, facilitating and running the Mosques and Islamic Centres. Through these noble facilities it is essential that you protect yourselves, your staff and the people who work within them and use them
1. Unless there is a legal order (From the UK Government), or an equivalent from the Central / Local Govt or the Regulator, the discretion to remain open or closed is in the hands of the trustees.
2. When exercising this discretion, all trustees need to be aware of the risks linked to any decisions they take. Therefore, they must carry out a full and proper Risk Assessment (See generic form below).
3. The main risk all trustees need to bear in mind is one of the spreading of the COVID-19 virus
4. The medical opinion, including from Muslim experts in this field, is to avoid congregations. See also the policies adopted by your local council for mosques or Global Islamic Authorities representing the various Schools of Thought.
5. Any person or employees of the Mosque (Imams, Madrassah teachers and volunteer staff) attending a Mosque/Congregational prayers /Programmes, organised by the trustees of an organisation is entitled to assume that those same trustees have taken appropriate steps to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
6. Therefore, if someone does catch a virus, and if there is evidence that the place managed by the charity was the source of the infection, then the trustees may be subjected to legal action through the courts.
7. As a general rule, any damages awarded against a charity may lead to a personal liability for each trustee of the organisation.
8. The same trustees may also be subject of an investigation from their Regulator, the Charity Commission, which will review if the organisation has an effective governance structure and competent trustees with the ability to understand the policies and procedures which underpin good governance.
9. It is our view that continuing to hold congregational activities may lead to legal difficulties for trustees. Point 4 above, makes it difficult for anyone to argue that they were unaware of the risk of spreading the virus.
10. Trustees of Mosques should ensure that adequate insurance cover is available to cover legal costs, deep cleaning cost and associated expenses in case of a contamination forced shutdown. Trustees will have a legal and moral duty to have the mosque in a clean and fit state to allow worshippers and employees back.
11. Similar legal principles also apply to organisations that are not regulated by the Charity Commission.
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