Charities all over the UK will be affected by the Charity Commission’s decision to update and redraft its model governing documents. Although it is not mandatory to use the newly revised model governing documents, it is advised that charities refer to it when drawing up its documents. Leading provider of company secretarial services and other corporate support services London Registrars (http://www.london-registrars.co.uk/) advises on this update.

The Charity Commission has updated documents with the aim of ensuring that there is consistent provision for the payment of trustees (and anyone closely connected to them) in the cases where the model articles of association, the model constitution and the model trust deed are used with this update the governing documents are now consistent with the model constitution which have been created for the new Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) form.

The UK Charity watchdog has made certain revisions that a company secretary of any UK charity should be made aware of. From now on, all the model governing documents allow a trustee to be paid for supplying just goods to the charity; to be employed or remunerated by the charity with prior authority; encourage charity members to use litigation as a last resort in cases of internal dispute and seek to resolve them in-house; include the same provisions for addressing conflicts of interests and conflicts of loyalties; allow a minority of trustees to receive financial benefits as beneficiaries; and clarify that charities in Scotland and Northern Ireland must not apply their property for purposes which are not charitable in those countries.

A charity company secretary should check that these revisions are at least referred to in updated charity documents, however they do still allow charity trustees to be flexible in the way the charity is run, according to the Charity Commission, “subject to a range of controls which reflect sound operational practice”.

London Registrars provides third party company secretarial services but also advises in-house company secretaries of charities, organisations and public and private companies on important changes in guidelines and legislation such as this. To find out more go to http://www.london-registrars.co.uk/.