Curtain rises on CIOs consultation

The long-awaited consultation on charitable incorporated organisations, the new legal form for charities, begins today.

Many unincorporated charities are keen to become CIOs because it would allow them to limit their trustees' liability without having to submit to dual regulation by the Charity Commission and Companies House, as charitable companies do.

Many organisations have been frustrated by delays to the implementation of the CIO form (23 July, page 5).

The Charities Act 2006 provided the legal framework, and the Office of the Third Sector and the Charity Commission were expected to publish a consultation document about it early this summer.

But it has taken until now for the regulations governing how they are to be set up and operated to be drafted.

Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, warned that the new form would not be appropriate for every charity.

He said: "To realise its full potential, the CIO form must command the confidence of the wider business community, meaning there are more requirements for a CIO than for an unincorporated charity."

Dame Suzi Leather, chair of the Charity Commission, urged both charities and organisations that do business with them to respond to the consultation. She said: "It is vital we receive the comments of those who may adopt or work with CIOs, and we encourage sector professionals and funders alike to let us have their views."

The consultation runs for 13 weeks, ending on 10 December. A spokesman for the Office of the Third Sector said the Government hoped the new structure would be available by next spring "subject to parliamentary process".

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