So, nearly two months after legislation was finally signed off by Nick Hurd, just how many applications to register Charitable Incorporated Organisations have been received by the Charity Commission. Well, the answer is surprisingly low, just a few dozen so far, with only a handful actually being entered on the Central Register of Charities.
So, what was all the fuss about? The amount of time the Office for Civil Society and its Minister has spent pondering their introduction and the amount of time and resource the Charity Commission has had to expend in preparation for them, the Minister and his predecessors must have expected a flood of applications. If not a flood, then at least a steady stream of applicants, but it seems that the CIO has yet to take off.
As a proportion of all the applications received by the Commission since their introduction, CIOs have made up little more than 5%.
So, has one of the key changes the sector has been waiting for, literally for years, been a waste of everyone’s time and expectation? Well, the answer is no!
If you’re looking to register a charity then the Charitable Incorporated Organisation is a highly suitable structure for certain types of charity. It offers protection to the trustees of charities who are entering into contracts to provide services for example, and with more and more local authorities offloading some of their activities due to cutbacks, then the CIO is an ideal platform for a charity taking on such services. The CIO offers an “incorporated” structure but without the burden of registering with Companies House as well as the Commission, but like a company, the liability of the trustees is limited.
The Constitution which governs a CIO can be amended to reflect the particular make-up of individual charity, improving governance and management of the charity.
No doubt, the expectation surrounding the CIO that has been building over the last number of years will come into fruition as we approach Spring.