Here at Community Action Suffolk, we recognise the importance that VCFSE (Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise) 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)
- Policies and procedures
- Governing document
A useful resource for you to consider is the Community Action Suffolk Quality Framework. It is designed with flexibility in mind so you can choose the level of support and resources that are right for you. It has three options to choose from.
Each section acts as a stand-alone resource, however, they are also designed to allow you to progress from one to another. You could start with the HealthCheck which is a self assessment and realise that you would benefit from the examples policies and procedures contained within the HealthCheck Plus and upgrade to that. After that you may decide that you are ready and want to complete the CAS Quality Standard.
For more information on the CAS Quality Framework click on the image below.
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.
Policies and procedures
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.
The CAS Organisation HealthCheck Plus and Quality Standard both include a range of essential policy and procedure examples, read on for more information.
Below are a few key policy documents that you may find useful.
Community Action Suffolk Quality Framework
The CAS Organisation HealthCheck Plus and Quality Standard come complete with a comprehensive range of resources including examples of key policies and procedures.
The Organisation HealthCheck Plus and Quality Standard cover the four main areas an organisation requires to demonstrate it is committed to quality. They help ensure that your organisation has the structure, policies and procedures in place to be a safe, well run provider of services. They cover the following four vital areas:
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, questions, retention and succession planning.
For further information as to what is entailed in being a Trustee, please click on the link:
Business Support Officer
T: 01473 345397