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Governance & Commercial Advice

Charity & Not-for-Profit

Nearly 1m people work within the charity sector, and it is supported by countless volunteers. It meets the needs of many of the most vulnerable in society.

One of the reasons it is so successful is because of the passion of its supporters and those who work within it. But running a Charity or social business is complex. And it is always going to be subject to public scrutiny. Our aim as a Charities and Not-For-Profit Team is to help you negotiate those complexities

Setting up a charity or social enterprise

We can help you with:

  • Finding and adopting the best legal structure to achieve your goals - such as an unincorporated charity, a charitable trust, a CIO, CIC or a company limited by guarantee
  • Drafting your Constitution, including charitable objects and Articles of Association
  • Applying to the Charity Commission for Registration
  • Answering Charity Commission enquiries or objections
Restructuring & incorporation

From time to time organisations realise that they have changed substantially from when they were formed, and that their structures are no longer the most appropriate for the current legal and regulatory environment. We can help you identify if this is the case. If you need

  • Conversion from a Trust to a CIO or incorporated charity
  • Transfer of Properties into a new structure (freehold and leasehold)
  • Trusts, governance, and relationships between trustees, management, funders/donors and other stakeholders
  • Distribution of charitable assets and winding up of Trusts and other charitable organisations
Mergers & collaborations

The Charity Commission actively encourages partnership working so you are likely to engage with other charities in delivering your services. And from time to time the best way forward for a charity or other non-profit can be merger with another organisation that shares its aims and objectives. We help you to negotiate the legal structures in a way that helps preserve all that is best from the cultures of the two organisations. And to jump the legal and regulatory hurdles:

  • Partnership and Collaboration Agreements
  • Merger Agreements
  • Asset Transfer Agreements
  • Board and Members Approval
  • Application for approval from the Charity Commission if needed
  • TUPE and Employment issues
Operational contracts

As an organisation you will enter into legal contracts with other organisations and individuals. We can help you with these and advise on trading activities and appropriate structures to allow the organisation to trade without prejudicing its charitable status

• Grant and funding agreements

• Fundraising legally and ethically

• Service Level Agreements

• Framework Agreements

• Service and Supply Agreements

Governance reviews

In 2012 a research study conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Charity Commission showed that Charities are amongst the most trusted groups in society. Maintaining that level of trust in a complex world is not easy, and one way Boards and Trustees can ensure that their organisations maintain this trust is to keep up with the latest changes in the law and best practice and ensure your structures reflect changes in your organisations size or areas of operation.

For charities who need to ensure they act in line with their ethical standards Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues are of prime importance. A governance review is a structured opportunity to look at your governance arrangements. Our Governance Reviews will be conducted against appropriate Charity Commission or other regulatory codes and will give you a structured implementation plan to act on.

For further advice, please contact Chris Brightling, Caroline Armitage or a member of our Charities and Not-for-Profit team based in Canterbury, Ashford and Herne Bay.

Our Experts

Caroline Armitage

Consultant Solicitor
Corporate, Banking & Finance, Commercial Law and Charities & Not for Profit

Jeremy Burke

Head of Department
Commercial Property

Andrew Watson

Partner
Dispute Resolution, Contested Wills & Estates

David Morgan

Senior Associate Solicitor
Employment law

Lesley Rushton

Head of Department
Wills, Tax & Estate Administration and Court of Protection

Charlotte Nock

Partner
Wills, Tax & Estate Administration

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