Charity Commission publishes constitution for small charities

Document for organisations with low incomes will offer 'support and guidance'

The Charity Commission has published a simplified model constitution for charities below the registration threshold.

The 700-word constitution is aimed at charities that don't own any property or employ any staff and expect their annual income to remain below the £5,000 threshold for registering with the commission.

The constitution explains issues such as membership criteria, trustees' powers and regulations governing trustee and members' meetings.     

The constitution was piloted in Wales by Welsh umbrella body WCVA and Welsh County Voluntary Councils. It was drawn up with the help of nine umbrella bodies, whose websites will also be used to promote it. The organisations include Bassac, Charity Trustee Networks, the Directory of Social Change, Navca and the NCVO.

Andrew Hind, chief executive of the commission, said all the organisations hoped the document would make life easier for the trustees of small charities. He said: "Our shared aim is that the energy and commitment that is the hallmark of small charities is matched by effective governance, appropriate to the size of the organisations concerned." 

Hind said that if a charity's income rose above £5,000 the charity would need to register and draw up a more comprehensive governing document.

Kevin Curley, chief executive of Navca, said: "Even though small charities don't usually need to register with the commission, they are still subject to charity law and still need support and guidance.

"I am pleased the commission has realised the importance of small charities having a simple but legally compliant constitution and we congratulate the commission for this bold move."



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