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Section 2 – Part 1: Governing documents

As a voluntary organisation, you will have a governing document which sets out the rules by which your group is governed. The two main governing groups are:

Constitution

A constitution is a set of rules by which a voluntary organisation agrees to abide. It is a legal document. This should be reviewed at each AGM. Changes to the constitution can be made at an AGM or an EGM (extraordinary general meeting).

A model constitution can be obtained through Pre-School Learning Alliance, Kids Club Network or the Charity Commission. (See Section 7 for contact details)

A group can write their own constitution. This may have implications if you wish to register as a charity. If a group writes their own constitution and has a wish to register as a charity, the constitution must be approved by the Charities Commission. If you wish to become a charity, please refer the Charities Commission Website www.charity-commission.gov.uk

Memorandum and articles of association

There are a set of rules that the organisation agrees to abide by, as a company limited by guarantee. This is a legal document.

It is possible to be both a charity and a company limited by guarantee.

Changes can be made to the memorandum and articles of association at an AGM or EGM. Any changes must be agreed by the Charity Commission if you are a registered charity, and approved by a solicitor. Companies House must be informed of any changes to your governing document. Further information can be obtained from the Companies House website www.companieshouse.gov.uk

Sample memorandum and articles of association can be obtained from the Avon and Bristol Law Centre or the Charity Commission.