For the past six years we have been waiting for a new form of incorporated charity which would make life a lot easier and safer for some charities. Now, at last, it is being launched by the Charity Commission. See their website here.
The reason for doing this is that it gives better legal protection to the trustees of a charity than in an unincorporated body. Until now, the only way of doing this was to become both a registered charity and a registered company limited by guarantee. This means ‘serving two masters’, being responsible and reporting to both the Charity Commission and Companies House. This can become particularly complicated if such a charitable company has to be wound up.
The Charitable Incorporated Organisation solves this by giving the same protection to trustees but with reporting to the Charity Commission only. In the first instance, this is available to new charities only but will be extended to existing charities over the next twelve months.
As the Exception Order 2007 by which many Churches and Christian bodies operate as unregistered charities has been extended to April 2014 when the ceiling will come down from an annual income of 100,000 to £50,000, this is a good time for unincorporated bodies to consider again whether it is time to incorporate.