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Need to Change your Charitable Purposes

If you are the trustee of a smaller unincorporated charity, with a gross income in your last financial year of no more than £10,000, the Charity Act 2006 makes it easier for you to update your charitable purposes. Provided that the new purposes are similar to the original purposes, you do not need to ask the Charity Commission to make a ‘Scheme’ to change them. 

The rules: Where the trustees of a charity consider that their existing charitable purposes are no longer relevant in modern society, they may bring them up to date more simply. The updated purposes must serve the charity’s interests well and must besimilar to the old ones. So, for example, a charity set up to relieve sickness could update its purposes to take part in a health promotion scheme to promote healthy living.

Voting: The trustees must satisfy themselves that the change is in the charity’s interests and that (so far as is reasonably practicable) the new purposes consist of or include purposes similar to those being replaced. The trustees must pass a resolution by at least two-thirds of those who vote, and send a copy to the Charity Commission with the reasons for passing the resolution.

Timescale: The resolution automatically takes effect 60 days after receipt by the Charity Commission, unless they object. However, this period can be extended if the Commission requires the resolution to be publicly announced, or requests more information. In practice, the Commission is only likely to object where the new purposes very clearly do not serve the charity’s interests well, or are dissimilar to the old ones.


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