Writing a constitution
A constitution is simply the aims and rules that your group will use. It’s a statement of what your group is going to do and how it is going to do it.
Our information about constitutions is suitable for a small organisation such as a residents’ association or campaign group. It will work well for you if you want a simple, uncomplicated structure to guide your group. It is not suitable if you are employing workers, buying premises or dealing with large amounts of money.
For details of other organisations that can help with constitutions, click on the Links tab above.
A step-by-step guide to writing a constitution for a small community group.
In this sheet we look at legal structures which are suitable for community organisations, ranging from small neighbourhood groups run by local people to larger voluntary agencies with staff. It explains four types of structure available, and the pros and cons of these different options.
A brief guide to legal structures for not-for-profit organisations.
This information sheet aims to give some guidance as to whether your group should register as a charity. It is intended mainly for smaller community groups although the information is equally relevant to larger organisations in the voluntary sector. If you are setting up a new group with the aim of registering as a charity, this sheet should help you to begin the process.
These books are available at the Resource Centre, for reference only. If you prefer to borrow them, some of the titles are available at local libraries in Brighton & Hove. Groups based in Sussex are welcome to come in and browse our bookshelf and noticeboards.
- Charities and Public Benefit
- Community Matters: Reference Manual for Community Organisations Advisers
- Governance & Participation: Development toolkit CD ROM
- Model constitution for a community association
- Setting up and running Tenants' and Residents' Associations
- Simply Governance: A comprehensive guide to understanding the systems & processes concerned with the running of a sustainable community enterprise
The services listed below are not provided by the Resource Centre. These are websites and services we feel are particularly useful for small groups in Brighton & Hove, and which are not easy to find by searching the internet.
Most useful services for local groups
Help with developing constitutions and sample constitutions, Information on charities and charity law, Information on insurance, Information on legal structures, Information on managing money, Information on running a group, Information on running childrens groups, Information on setting up a company, Risk Assessment (Financial and Organisational)
Very comprehensive website with information how to set up a charity, legal guidance, and a database of all registered charities. Also has specialist guidance section specifically aimed at small groups wanting to become charities.
The Charity Commission is now part of the GOV.uk site, which can make it difficult to search for the information you need. They advise you to:
- always include 'charity commission' in your search terms, eg 'report serious incident charity commission'
- enter your search term, then select 'Charity Commission' from the drop down list of 'Organisations' on the search results page
Some specific guidance you may find useful:
- Information on the regulations about accounts and reporting for registered charities
- Guidance on the forms of insurance available to charity trustees, highlighting the importance of risk assessment
- Model governing documents for charities, including unincorporated associations and small charities
- Guidance about trustee conflicts of interest, including employing trustees