Choosing a legal structure

Choosing a legal structure is about deciding how your group will be run, how decisions will be made, and how formal the organisation needs to be.

Think carefully about what you actually want your group to do. Many small, volunteer run groups only need a fairly informal structure which doesn’t require lots of work to set up or maintain.

These pages will help you understand the basics of different legal structures, so that you can get on with running your group.

  • RouteMap

    RouteMap is an online flowchart for any not-for profit group group looking for guidance in choosing a legal structure.

  • Legal structures for community groups and not-for-profit organisations

    This page provides simple explanation of different types of not-for-profit organisation, and what to consider when choosing a legal structure.

  • Charity Registration

    Information to help your community organisation understand whether it is or could be a charity, whether it should register with the Charity Commission, and how to do so.

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
0300 066 9197 (10am to 12noon and 1pm to 3pm, Monday to Friday)

Notes:
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:

Notes:
Free online reference and decision-making tool for charities, social enterprises and co-operative organisations.

Get Legal has been developed by NCVO, with support from BWB, to enable organisations to access information and guidance on the most appropriate legal form and governance structure for delivering their goals.

Notes:
A useful collection of simple information sheets on running groups, covering things like What Insurance do we need?, The committee's essential responsibilities, A Glossary of Committee and Meeting terms, Committee rifts and disputes, How well does your group run?, and a Good Practice Guide on Volunteering.

Other services you might find useful

Would you like to make a donation?

We hope you find this page useful. Would you like to make a donation?

All Resource Centre information is available for free because we know small community groups have small budgets. However, we are a small charity, so if you are in a position to make a donation, it will help us to keep running this service into the future.