4.2 Governance – Who Are You?
Finding the right legal structure for your organisation as it grows and expands into a new building is important. You need to plan ahead. If you are already part of an established denomination they are likely to provide assistance and advice. Some of that guidance is web based.
Some aspects to consider and then get specialist advice:
- If you are a registered charity do you need to limit the liability of your trustees? This is important where you could have major personal liabilities in signing large building contracts, leasing or buying property or employing people. Limiting liabilities can be achieved by setting up a Charitable Company (limited by guarantee) or a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). Solicitors who specialise in charity law will help you. Church Growth Trust, who are not solicitors, can also help you with issues of charitable status and understanding charity matters generally.
- What are your lines of management going to be with possibly increased staffing requirements? Will the current structure suffice? Map out a new reporting structure and discuss this with current employees and the church leadership.
- Will you be zero rated for VAT purposes for the building? New church builds usually are. This is a complex area but you can get help on this which may save the church a large amount of money. Contact Alan Rashleigh (01625 850642) or Les Howard (01480 464133).
- Will there be a trading element to what you will be doing? A coffee shop, bookshop, rent of rooms, sports facilities etc… If so, you need to consider whether this can be done within your existing charity or you may well be best placed to set up a separate charity to run this. Again you may wish to set up a Charitable Company (limited by guarantee) or a CIO. See the various UK Charity Commission websites. For details of the relatively new form of charity (CIOs) see Church Growth Trust’s briefing paper “Charitable Incorporated Organisations for church charities”.
England & Wales: Charity Commission www.charitycommission.gov.uk
Scotland: OSCR www.oscr.org.uk
N.Ireland: Charity Commission for N.Ireland www.charitycommissionni.org.uk
Church Growth Trust: www.churchgrowth.org.uk
Advice on structures: Christian Consulting www.christianconsulting.org.uk
Living Stones: www.living-stones.org.uk