Governance round-up: January 2018

CIO conversion

On 1 January 2018, new rules came in allowing charitable companies to convert into charitable incorporated organisations (CIO’s) this is following legislative changes in November 2017.

CIO is a legal form designed for charities. CIOs are incorporated, but they only need to register with the Charity Commission and not with Companies House – as a result CIO’s are generally considered to be easier to administer than charitable companies.

The conversion mechanism allows charitable companies to become CIO’s using a procedure involving two members’ resolutions and an application to the Charity Commission. The conversion is phased and currently only available to organisations with an income less than £12,500, but by August 2018 it will be open to all charities.

User testers wanted to review the Charity Commission welcome pack

Last week I met with the Charity Commission to discuss their development of a welcome pack for every new trustee. We at NCVO are delighted that the Commission is developing this pack as it represents a key opportunity to introduce new trustees to their duties.

The Commission has put together a concise guide focusing on key duties and responsibilities that trustees need to be aware of from the outset. They are now looking for trustees to help them test the design and use any feedback to improve it. The Commission has asked us to see if there would be any interest from our membership and readers of this blog.  If you have become a trustee in the last year –  or have a hand in appointing and helping new trustees – the Commission plans to hold events in London over the coming months and will also be putting in place a facility to enable remote testing.

If you’d like to be involved then please contact the Commission providing them with a contact email and brief details on your role and time in post. They will then get back to you with further details on the testing process.

Two new strategy courses

Charities need to have both a clear and comprehensive strategy in place which supports their organisational purpose, and a meaningful business plans which considers the operating environment and help to ensure the board monitor progress and retain oversight and control.

The new charity governance code is clear that strategic planning and business planning are core board responsibilities which are central to good governance. As such I am delighted that my colleagues in NCVO Charities Evaluation Services have launched two new strategy courses which are worth checking out if you are entering a strategic review or thinking about your organisation’s approach to planning.

Charity mergers

Following the publication of the Good Merger Index by Eastside Primetimers, Third Sector have reported that although charity mergers are still rare they are increasing. There were only 70 charity mergers that took place in the year to April 2017, compared with 54 in the previous year. If your charity is considering merger or you’d like more resources we have collated some useful tools and links on our website.

Annual return deadline

A reminder that the filing deadline for charities with a March year end is three weeks away.

Upcoming training and events


Dan Francis is NCVO’s Senior Governance Consultant. For more regular updates follow @mynameisdanfran or @NCVO on Twitter.


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Dan is responsible for NCVO’s governance consultancy offer, focusing on governance reviews, board performance and trustee training. He joined NCVO from the National Union of Students (NUS) where, as a long standing consultant, he supported the organisational development of local students’ unions as charities.

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