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Charitable incorporated organisations

The charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) is a new legal form for charities which came into effect in England and Wales in 2012. Find out about the steps involved in becoming a CIO, and the potential advantages, with our selection of books, articles, guides and links. Information on the Scottish charitable incorporated organisation (SCIO) is also included.

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Featured book

Charitable incorporated organisations (2nd edition)
(Directory of Social Change, 2018)
Practical guidance for voluntary sector practitioners and professional advisors on establishing new CIOs or converting existing charities to CIOs. 

To borrow this item please contact the Library.

Featured link

Charity types: how to choose a structure
Charity Commission guidance to help you decide whether to set up a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO), a charitable company or an unincorporated association or trust.

Useful links


Charity Finance Professionals Community
The community focuses on supporting finance professionals working in or advising clients in the charity and voluntary sectors. It offers regular e-newsletters containing the latest news and updates, as well as technical helpsheets, webinars and discounts on ICAEW events.

Volunteering Community
A new community created specifically to support members who wish to provide pro bono finance services, take up a trustee position or a volunteering role with a UK charity or not-for-profit organisation. It provides regular e-newsletters covering latest developments and volunteering opportunities, access to trustee training modules and professional liability insurance for pro bono activities with UK charities and not-for-profits.

Charity Commission

Charity Commission regulations
The Charitable Incorporated Organisations (Constitutions) Regulations 2012, setting out what should be included in a governing document for a CIO.

Model governing documents
The Charity Commission provides several model governing documents for CIOs in England and Wales. The Association model constitution is for CIOs with voting members other than its charity trustees. The Foundation model constitution is for CIOs whose only voting members are its charity trustees.


Legal structures for community groups and not-for-profit organisations
Explanations of different types of not-for-profit organisation, and what to consider when choosing a legal structure. The guide covers unincorporated associations, charitable trusts, charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs), companies limited by guarantee, charitable companies, community interest companies (CICs), community benefit societies, and cooperative societies.

Charitable Incorporated Organisations: A guide to establishing your charity as a CIO
Provides information on what is involved in setting up a new charity as a CIO, or converting an existing one in England and Wales. Published by Deloitte in 2011.

Charitable Incorporated Organisations for church charities 
A joint briefing paper produced by Church Growth Trust, Stewardship and Partnership in March 2013 on CIOs in England and Wales. Includes advantages and disadvantages of a CIO, how to register, conversion to a CIO, dissolution of a CIO and transferring a CIO's undertakings to another CIO.

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIOs)
Information on SCIOs provided by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). SCIOs: A Guide provides guidance on the legal form for charities and their advisers.

Model documents

Model accounts

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) website contains example charity accounts for Scotland:

Model constitutions

Charitable incorporated organisations
(Directory of Social Change, 2018)
The appendix of this book contains a CIO model constitution.
Request this book

A number of model constitutions and other model documents for CIOs are freely available from the Charity Commission:

Articles and books in the Library collection

Selected material

Charity checklists
(ICSA, 2019)
A handy quick-reference guide to common administrative and legal procedures for charities - includes checklists for CIOs. 

Charity handbook
(ICSA, 2019)
This book covers material on the key areas of charity law, governance and compliance, including setting up and working with the various legal entities and structures, such as CIOs.

The charities acts handbook: a practical guide
(LexisNexis, 2016)
Guide to charity law, with a section on charitable incorporated organisations. 

Charitable incorporated organisations
(Directory of Social Change, 2018)
Practical guidance for voluntary sector practitioners and professional advisors on establishing new CIOs or converting existing charities to CIOs. 

Charitable incorporated organisations 
Private Client Business, No.2, 2013
Article covering the advantages and disadvantages of CIOs compared to charitable companies and trusts. It looks at administrative considerations when creating a CIO for an existing charity, with model documents and information on drafting a CIO constitution.

Further information

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You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports through our document supply service.

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