News & Events


Legal Structures and Charitable Status



Tuesday 3 November 2009



10 a.m.(prompt) – 4.30 p.m. Registration and refreshments from 9.45.

Latecomers may not be admitted.



Brockenhurst Village Hall, Highwood Road, Brockenhurst SO42 7RY (01590 622580)



Sandy Adirondack


This introductory-level training is intended for people who are considering setting up a charity or community group and need to understand the available legal structures and whether to be charitable, and for board members and staff of voluntary organisations who are considering changing their legal structure (from unincorporated to incorporated, or to become a CIO).


After attending the training and reading the handouts participants should:

1. understand the differences between unincorporated and incorporated organisations, the types of unincorporated and incorporated legal structures, and the advan­tages and disadvantages of each;


2. understand charitable status and its advantages and limitations;

3. be aware of the pros and cons of the new charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) structure;

4. be broadly aware of the responsibilities of governing body (committee/board) members in general and in each type of structure, and potential liabilities of governing body members.


The training runs from 10.00-4.30, with breaks from 11.30-11.45, 1.00-2.00 and 3.15-3.30. It will cover:

Legal structures and charitable status: Overview, registrations and governing documents
Charitable status, advantages of charitable status, restrictions on charities
Advantages and limitations of being unincorporated or incorporated

Unincorporated structures: association, charitable trust

Incorporated structures: company limited by guarantee, industrial & provident society, charitable incorporated organisation
The asset lock, community interest companies and prescribed community benefit societies

Where to get further information and advice                            

Sandy Adirondack has been a freelance management trainer and consultant in the voluntary sector since 1980, working primarily on governance and legal issues with small and medium organisations.


She is co-author of The Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook (Directory of Social Change 1996, 2nd ed 2001), and editor and a co-author of The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook (3rd ed of VSLH, forthcoming).


She is author of the widely used Just About Managing? Effective management for voluntary organisations and community groups (London Voluntary Service Council 1989, 4th ed 2005), and has written, edited or contributed to many other books on voluntary sector management, governance and law.


She provides a legal update website for voluntary organisations at, with free email alerts when the website is updated.