Kirstin Thompson


Wills, Trusts and Probate

Charitable Incorporated Organisations

Kirstin Thompson

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.


Thank you for your contribution. Your comment will appear on the site once approved.

Sorry something has happen! Please try again.

Sitemap | Ask a question | Careers | Accessibility | Terms of Use | How we handle your data

© 2019 Fraser Brown Solicitors. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
SRA Number: 0048586   |SRA |  VAT Number: 116 4751 78

Fraser Brown is a partnership of limited companies. Any references to partners in any document should be taken as being references to the directors of the limited companies and not to individual partners of the firm.