Write your governing documentWrite your governing document

By law you need to create a governing document for your group that sets out the aims of the group and how you will manage it. This should be either your Constitution or the Memorandum and Articles of Association if you set up as a company.

There are a lot of governing document examples available on the internet that you can use. The Charities Commission has a set of example documents that you can customise as well as lots of good advice on what to include.

Your group’s governing document should be clear and easy to understand. Once you have your governing document prepared, it is important that your officers and those involved in your group know the details of the governing document. It is also recommended that you review your governing document every 3 years.

Your governing document should include the following information:

Name of the group

  • Check with the Charity Commission and/or Companies House to make sure there are no other groups/companies with the same name.

Aim of the group

  • Your aim needs to be clear and different from the aims of other organisations so there is no confusion. If your group provides a public benefit to the community, you need to say this in your aim.

Objectives

  • You need to state the key things you want to achieve in your group. These are called the objectives. Check that these objectives support the aims of the group.

Powers

  • Your governing document should outline and give your group powers to:
    – Raise money through loans/mortgage.
    – Appoint officers such as the Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary.
    – Open a bank account.
    – Pay expenses.
    – Perform any other duties that are within the law and needed to deliver on the aim.

Officer duties

  • Your governing document should outline:
    – What officers the organisation will have. These can include the Chairperson, the Treasurer, the Secretary.
    – A basic role description for the different officer posts in the group.

Committee Members

  • Your governing document should include:
    – The maximum and minimum number of committee members.
    – The minimum number of members to hold a meeting and take decisions (this minimum number is known as the quorum).
    – How committee members are appointed.
    – How committee members can be removed.

Sub-committees

  • Your governing document should include:
    – Details on how sub-committees can be formed.
    – The function of any sub-committees that are in place.

Meetings

  • Your governing document should include:
    – The minimum number of meetings to be held in a year.
    – When an annual general meeting should take place.
    – The minimum notice period of an annual general meetings and any extra-ordinary general meetings that are needed.

Amendments

  • Your governing document should include:
    – The procedure for adding amendments.
    – The percentage of members that must approve the amendment for it to pass.

Dissolution

  • Your governing document should include:
    – The procedure for dissolving the organisation.
    – What should be done with any assets that exist after the dissolution.
Access sample governing documents from the Charities Commission.