Where we provide legal consents

What are legal consents?

Sometimes trustees need to get our consent to give them the power to do something, or to change their charity’s Governing Document to make sure their charity continues to be able to operate effectively. In some cases the trustees can’t make these changes themselves, usually because the proposed change is to the charity’s aims (its ‘objects’) or because the Governing Document itself doesn’t allow the proposed change to be made.

In these circumstances we'll need to become involved to make sure the charity can continue to operate within an effective legal, accounting and governance framework. Normally we can make an Order to give trustees the powers they need. In some situations where the Governing Document doesn't allow such a change we can do this through a ‘Scheme’ - a legal document which gives formal consent to amend, replace or amplify a charity's governing document.

When does the Charity Commission make schemes?

Usually, we make schemes for one or more of the following reasons:

  • to modernise or widen a charity’s objects;
  • to merge two or more charities;
  • to replace a governing document that is inadequate or out of date with modern administrative methods; or
  • to give the trustees new powers or authorise specific transactions (eg sale of land) which are in the best interests of the charity.

Trustees should discuss their needs with us and only request a Scheme once it’s agreed that this is the best approach. Formal applications for Schemes are normally made by trustees acting as a body. We’ll decide on the terms of the Scheme in consultation with the trustees and, where appropriate, other people who may be affected by it.

More information on schemes is provided by section D of Changing your charity’s governing document (CC36), including a guide to the process of applying for a Scheme and how Schemes come into effect.

Can I see what Schemes are being proposed?

Yes - you can view all our proposed Schemes because we invite public comments or representations. We must take into consideration any representations that we receive within the statutory period of notice and we may decide as a result that the proposal needs to be changed. You can also view all closed ('sealed') Schemes.

How do I make a comment or representation about a Scheme?

Our guidance Making a representation about a scheme sets out what you need to do. If you want to make a complaint about a charity, you should read our guidance on how and when to report an issue to us.

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