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Legal Structures and Charitable Status

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  • A Quick Guide to Legal Structures: A brief outline of the most common types of legal structure for a community or voluntary organisation.
  • Charitable Status and Registration:This technical guidance note explains what a charity is, what the benefits of charitable status are, when a charity is required to register, and how it does so.
  • CICs - Community Interest Companies: Explains what a Community Interest Company (CIC) is and why it might be a suitable legal structure for your organisation.
  • CIOs - Charitable Incorporated Organisations: A summary of how the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) is expected to work as a structure for incorporation of charities.
  • Community Organisation Constitutions: This information sheet explains what a constitution is, who needs one and what information should be included in it.
  • Guidance notes for the CIO Model Constitution: These notes are to assist organisations in completing the Model Constitution for a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
  • Incorporation and Community Associations: This information shetts highlights differences, the advantages and disadvantages of unincorporated associations and incorporated bodies, for community associations and the alternative forms of incorporation. The guidance assumes associations are also registered charities.
  • Social Enterprise: This information sheet explains what becoming a social enterprise involves and how your organisation can become one.
  • The Charities Act 2011: The key provisions of the current charities legislation as it will apply to community organisations.
  • Unincorporated Community Organisation Constitutions: This information sheet explains what a constitution is, its purpose and outlines what information should be included in it.

Model documents

  • Constitution for a Residents or Tenants Association: This model constitution has objects recognised as charitable. It is designed for small, very local, organisations and can be adapted to suit local circumstances.
  • Constitution of CIO: A model constitution for the new legal form of a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
  • Model Constitution for a Community Association: This model constitution is for new and existing Community Associations set up for charitable purposes. This constitution is particularly suitable for an association that owns or leases a community centre and aims to provide a wide range of community activities for its own members and its voluntary or non-profit distributing affiliated groups.
  • Model Constitution for a Local Federation of Community Organisation: This model constitution is for a Local Federation of Community Organisations, which is an umbrella organisation bringing together the individuals, bodies and organisations with an interest in furthering the Federation’s objects within the area which it serves.
  • Constitution for a Small Non-Charitable Community Organisation: This specimen constitution is designed for small unincorporated organisations and should be adapted to suit particular needs and circumstances. It is not suitable for submission to the Charity Commission for charity registration and therefore should not be used by organisations whose objects are wholly charitable.
  • Model Memorandum & Articles of Association for a Community Organisations: The organisation's constitution affects everything the organisation does and determines the overall character of the organisation in terms of what it is for and how it is to be organised and controlled.
  • Model Memorandum & Articles of Association for a Local Federation of Community Organisations: It is intended for a Local Federation wishing to change its legal structure to a Company Limited by Guarantee, i.e. to incorporate, and also has charitable aims.

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