A governing document is your organisation’s most important legal document.
It sets out the way your organisation is managed and ensures that your organisation’s aims are clear, agreed by all your members (if applicable). It also provides a mechanism by which decisions are made, and provides a management structure.
There are certain provisions that should be included in every governing document:
- Name of the organisation
- Objects of the organisation – including who it will benefit
- Powers of the management committee – for example, to fundraise, acquire property, hire staff
- Membership – including fees and voting rights
- Members’ meetings and proceedings (Annual General Meeting and so on.)
- Management committee members – how many, whether they are elected or appointed etc
- Management committee meetings and proceedings
- Restriction of financial and other benefits to management committee - stating that management committee members should not benefit personally from their personal position as management committee members.
- Provision to deal with the organisation’s bank account - this should state clear controls
- Amendment clause - the procedure to amend the governing document
- Dissolution clause - how the organisation may be dissolved or wound up.
If your organisation is unincorporated you will need to adopt a constitution as your governing document. See the sample document (pdf) on the Charity Commission website for more details.
If your organisation is an incorporated, you will need to adopt a memorandum and articles of association as your governing document. See the sample document (pdf_ on the Charity Commission website for more details.
Printer-friendly versions of these sample documents are also available from the Charity Commission.
This page is a summary of the information contained in the full online toolkit.