We know that costs are always a concern for our charity clients, and it is part of our CLEAR client service that we provide absolute transparency on costs.
We are also always looking at ways to provide cost certainty, and we have identified some areas of work where our clients really value and benefit from the comfort of a fixed fee.
Our current fixed fee packages for charity clients are summarised below. If you are interested in finding out more about any of these services, or to request a copy of any of our full fixed fee brochures (which include the details and cost of each service), please contact Liz Brownsell or Erika Clarke in our specialist Charities and Social Enterprise Team.
Fixed fee charity formation
We understand that in setting-up your new charity you will be keen to keep costs to a minimum and to ensure that your application progresses as smoothly and swiftly as possible.
The Charity Commission has suffered large budget cuts over recent years and, as a result, has significantly cut back on its services. It no longer provides advice or support and it has discontinued its old helpline service. This means that if your application is incomplete or does not cover all of the information that the Commission requires, there can be delays and difficulties in your application process.
It is therefore essential to get professional advice from experts in charity formation, in order to make the process of registering your new charity as smooth as possible.
We understand all of your needs and we are delighted to offer a fixed fee package that will provide you with the essential support that you need at an affordable price. Our service is designed to provide you with the most cost-effective way of setting up your new charity. We will provide you with expert advice on the key, technical issues and we will also provide you with guidance on the administrative tasks that you need to complete.
Fixed fee village hall incorporation
Many village halls and community buildings are unincorporated charities, yet they own property, often act as landlords, and provide services to members of the public. As such, there is a risk of claims being made against the charity by third parties.
This brings with it a risk of personal liability for the charity trustees. Whilst this risk can be mitigated with appropriate insurance cover, there nevertheless remains a residual risk of personal liability for the individuals who are responsible for running the charity.
Becoming a Charitable Incorporated Organisation provides the charity trustees of village halls and community buildings with significant protection from claims by third parties against the charity.
We recognise that not everyone will have exactly the same legal requirements, so we have developed three levels of service (gold, silver and bronze) for you to choose from to meet your own individual needs. Prices start from £2,500 plus VAT and disbursements.
Fixed fee CIO conversion
Charitable companies limited by guarantee are now able to apply to become charitable incorporated organisations. The conversion process is intended to be as quick and simple as possible and preserves the legal personality and charity number of the charity. However, not all charitable companies will be able to apply immediately: the conversion programme is being introduced in stages.
CIOs have proved to be a popular vehicle for new charity formations since their introduction following the Charities Act 2011. Over 50% of new charity registrations in the last financial year were CIOs. They offer corporate status with the Charity Commission as a single regulator and are subject to charity law. In contrast, charities that are companies limited by guarantee need to comply with two separate regulatory regimes and both company law and charity law.
However, the Charity Commission does not operate a public register of charges over the property or undertaking of CIOs. If a charity has unsatisfied registered charges it may not be appropriate for it to convert unless these can be satisfied before the application is made. In addition, the Government has warned trustees to take advice on the impact of conversion on any pension scheme operated by the charity as well as on any TUPE issues arising from the conversion (although these are likely to be limited as the same entity remains the employer).
Also, the Charity Commission may refuse to register the conversion. There are a number of grounds, including where the documents submitted with the application are incomplete or changes are made to the CIO constitution that require the Commission’s approval.
Although the conversion process might seem straightforward, in light of the potential issues highlighted above, we understand that many of our clients will be keen to receive support, guidance and expert advice. We offer a fixed fee package that will provide you with the essential support that you need at an affordable price.
Fixed fee constitutional review
Regardless of the size, nature and age of your charity, there will inevitably be a need to update its governing document from time to time. For example, to expand or limit trustees’ powers to meet changes in circumstances, to reflect changes in law, or to change administrative procedures. For older charitable trusts, it is also common to find that the Trust Deed contains outdated language which, in some cases, can include terminology that is considered offensive by modern standards.
Charity trustees have a responsibility to ensure that the charity’s governing document remains fit for purpose and suitable for the current needs of the organisation. The Charity Commission states in its guidance on amending governing documents that “it is the duty of trustees to seek to change the governing document in order to ensure the charity’s continuing effectiveness”.
However, the law regarding amendments to governing documents is currently quite complicated, and the process to do this depends on your charity’s legal form and what your existing governing document says. It is also difficult for charity trustees to identify changes that should be made to meet current legal requirements.
We are delighted to offer a fixed fee constitutional review service that will provide you with expert legal advice at an affordable price.