A charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) is a new corporate structure that has been designed specifically for charities and came into effect from January 2013. It is an alternative to other common legal structures for charities, which include unincorporated organisations, trusts and charitable companies.
A CIO only needs to register with the Charity Commission, not with Companies House. They must have at least one trustee and at least one member. A Foundation CIO is when the only members are the charity trustees, and vice versa. An Association CIO will have a separate voting membership.
A CIO structure may appeal to medium-sized unincorporated charities which employ staff and enter into contracts. There are less regulation and registration requirements than with a charitable company. If you choose to not have a corporate structure and be ‘unincorporated’ then trustees will be personally liable for what the charity does, as well as other restrictions.
Once the decision has been made about the type of structure your charity should take, a governing document will need to be written. This will set out the charity’s purposes and how it will be run.
For more information about charity structures or any other aspect of charity law, please contact us on 01949 838 439.