Here at Community Action Suffolk, we recognise the importance that VCSE organisations contribute to society. One of our aims at CAS is to ensure that this sector receives information and guidance to help it develop and thrive.
We offer free advice and support on a range of issues, such as:
- Setting up a new charitable organisation
- Advice on legal forms (organisation structure)
- Governing document
We have also developed The Community Action Suffolk Healthcheck, which is an online tool for trustees and other staff to assess the internal processes of their organisation, to determine whether they have the correct policies and procedures in place, whilst adhering to good practice.
This is a free tool, which is easy to complete, that will highlight areas that your organisation can improve on, to ensure that you are operating as effectively as possible with regards to the governance structure.
We also offer free 121 governance surgeries, offered virtually, where you can speak with the Governance Officer on a range of governance matters, including trustee recruitment; trustee issues; setting up a new group; and obtaining policies for your organisation.
Setting up a new charitable organisation
Setting up a new charitable organisation can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Many want to do so through personal experience of a situation and they see a gap in support offered.
One of the first things you need to establish, is whether there is another organisation locally that is carrying out the same work as you want to do. If so, it might be worth linking in with them and volunteering/ helping them in an already established group.
If there isn’t a service out there, then you need to think about what vehicle you are going to use in terms of organisational structure, as this will determine the minimum amount of people that will be required for you to run, as well as any limits on what you can and can’t do.
Deciding which legal form to adopt can cause the most confusion. The main thing to consider is do you want to be incorporated or unincorporated. An unincorporated organisation is run by a committee and the individuals that run it are responsible for any liabilities that may incur. It is the easiest form to set up and is relatively informal.
If you choose an incorporated structure, this will mean the organisation has a separate legal identity and therefore the board will be protected against liabilities- so long as they have acted legally and with due care.
The two main types of incorporated organisation are a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) or a Company Ltd. By Guarantee. If you are going down the social enterprise route, then you may find that a Community Interest Company (CIC) is more appropriate for you.
Your organisation’s governing document is the rulebook, by which it is run. It will set out what the aims and objectives are of the organisation; how it is run; by whom; and other administration functions there within. Most organisations are unaware that most answers to questions are found within it. It may set out how to do a specific function e.g. recruit and removal of trustees; how many trustees are required; how often to have meeting; decision-making powers etc.
The below link will take you to more information you will need to think about when compiling your document.
The below link will take you to model documents approved by the Charity Commission for you to follow when drawing up your rulebook.
You will need to have policies in place to protect the governing body and the people that are involved and use your service. It ensures that you have procedures in place for dealing with situations that may arise, so you can resolve in an efficient manner with a clear process for all involved.
Click on the image for a list of policies with accompanying links.
For Safeguarding policies and information, please visit our Safeguarding page:
Trustees are responsible for governing a charity and directing how it is managed and run. They may be called trustees, the board, the management committee, governors, directors or something else. We offer help with: Trustee recruitment, retention and succession planning, as well as helping to resolve any trustee issues that you may be experiencing. We also deliver the ‘Introduction to Trustee Roles and Responsibilities’ course.
For further information as to what is entailed in being a Trustee, please click on the link:
Jayne Vaughan, Development Officer-VCSE Organisation Support
Tel: 01473 345317
Mobile: 07775 907828