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Becoming a CIO

Becoming a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation)

Our current constitution is out of date.  It’s an old model (Registered Charity) no longer available to new organisations.  The Charity Commission has been encouraging charities to switch over to one of the new models for over 10 years, and our umbrella bodies have been reminding us to do this recently too.  Funders increasingly expect it, including the Lottery Community Fund. It’s time we got around to it!

The benefits will be:

  • Our regulators, umbrella bodies and funders will be happier
  • Trustees will be better protected from liability, if the CIO closes
  • We can take the opportunity to widen our objects to include work with U18s, and to explicitly include campaigns (Strategic Goal 3)
  • A bit simpler to run and make decisions in a compliant way

Essentially, we’ll be setting up a new charity, which will be the same as the old one, same name, same people, same services, same money, same values, except . . .

  • It’ll have a different charity number
  • The objects will be updated (as above)
  • Volunteers won’t automatically be members anymore, so they won’t have the chance to vote officers (like the Chair) in/out at an AGM etc.
  • We are moving the requirement to be women-led out of the constitution, where it is a bit vague.  The vagueness makes it more open to challenge and difficult to modify what women-led means in practice, to fit our changing circumstances.  We are definitely still committed to being women-led! But this aspect of our identity and values as a feminist, women’s organisation, can be specified more clearly elsewhere.  For example, in our recruitment policy, and in individual role and job descriptions.  We feel it can be better strengthened or modified there, and is more meaningful. 

The reasons for changing to a CIO are:

  • We can put our energy into more meaningful, more accessible, more impactful (and, let’s be honest, more interesting) ways to involve volunteers in decision-making.  For example, volunteer forums, our Vision day, on-line forms and text surveys, and volunteers serving as trustees.
  • Our current model doesn’t deliver meaningful accountability to our members, despite our creative encouragement towards more engagement in the AGM
  • This CIO model will be simpler to administer and maintain records in a way that is compliant (with the constitution)
  • It will reflect the relationship our volunteers actually have with CSASS more accurately

At the AGM on 14th June we will ask the current membership to agree to transferring all our assets over to the new CIO and close down the old charity.  In practice, most people won’t notice the changeover, and there won’t be any changes to services or activities.  The only noticeable difference will be, that when we have annual meetings from 2023 onwards they won’t involve voting.

We’re sending this information out in advance so that members have a chance to read through the proposed new constitution text, and ask any questions beforehand.  So if you do have any questions or concerns, or would like anything explaining or anything, please do get in touch over the next few weeks.

 Thank you!  01244 307 499       07984 449 364