FORMALISING AS A CIO - CHARITABLE INCORPORATED ORGANISATION
With your help we are now able to raise a lot more money than previously expected. Legally, if a group raise more than £5,000 a year they need to become a registered Charity and we are far exceeding this!
Needing to comply with the law but also respecting the trust that is place in us each time we fund raise and donate on your behalf, we have taken the decision to formalise our team, and to register as a charity and become a CIO - Charitable Incorporated Organisation.
With that in mind there are a few steps we need to take to make this official. There is a great .gov link that talks you through the general process but for us, we need to take the following steps.
1. We need to call an AGM - this allows us to adopt a constitution (reason for being, ethos, covernance) and register as a charity (become a recognised body that reports their finances to the Charity Commission but also entitles us to Gift Aid etc). Our proposed constitution can be found here and our call for the AGM is here also.
2. Register as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) - this is a special type of organisation that limits the liability of our trustees as far as is legally possible.
3. Establish ourselves with a formal name - Whether we become a PTFA - Parents, Teachers, Friends Association or stay as a PA is yet to be finalised but we hope to formulate a team that will best do the job.
Our first AGM is due to take place November 4th 2022 to which everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. During this meeting we will vote to adopt the model constitution provided by Parent Kind (an official organisation that helps groups like our become official organisations). A copy of the Constitution we will be looking to adopt can be found here.
Once this is voted on, we will then need to formally establish who our Trustees are. A break down of who and what a Trustee is can be found here. In short, only those with recognised roles - chair, treasurer, secretary - need to be Trustees. This means their names and roles will be documented on the Charity Commission website and it is their formal, legal duties/ responsibility to make sure we operate within the constitution and the parameters set by the Charity Commission. Everyone else will continue as normal.
What differences will this mean for the team? Day to day, nothing.
The main advantages are we can add teachers into the team and friends of our community in key roles. We can also gain more money through each donation as we will be eligible for Gift Aid and our Trustees (positioned core roles) are better protected legally and supported by institutions such as Parent Kind.
We will be legally obliged to call an AGM with clear notice to our community and run through our finances, but this is something our lovely Treasurer Toby is doing already, thank you Toby! We will be adding a step where this report will now be uploaded to the Charity Commission each year to formalise this. We will need at least 3 registered Trustees who's formal, legal responsibility is to keep the team operating within the constitution. Our Trustees will be our key role people - our Chair, a representative from the school, our treasurer and our secretary. We also need to have 10 people in a meeting to vote on core decisions and all main meetings need to be documented but again Lucy and Liz are already doing this so thank you ladies.
This might seem like a big change but rest assured the team, working with the support of the school, are doing this because it is needed and important.
We also hope this gives you a new level or trust in our team because of the transparency it provides of how things are done, a more formal trail of where all funds go and what we then do with those funds. We are a great team, with such amazing support. We just want to do it right.
As always, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch with any of our team directly or through our website here.
SOME GENERAL FAQs:
What will be expected of me?
There is no expectation on any parent volunteer, any amount of time you can give to the team will always be well received. There are a variety of ways you can get involved, from engaging with social media activity, attending PA Meetings through to volunteering at events or coordinating events. Even donating preloved items, raffle prizes or suggesting brilliant ideas are ways of getting involved. There seems to be a myth that if you get involved with your PA you will never be able to escape! You can come to our meetings to just listen and learn, or you can take a more active role if they want to, there are no set expectations.
How do I join?
It is always a good idea to attend a few meetings to get to know the team, then when you are ready you can start to take a more active role if you wish.
Why is it important we have a PA?
A good PA can help strengthen the child, parent, school community and is a huge aid to the school and parents. It provides a way of connecting the school to families in different ways. We hopefully can help communicate with our year groups and families more effectively on day to day matters, enhance fundraising efforts and be able to add extras into the school experience. We like to think we are the heart of the school community.
What does a PA do?
A PA is a Parent Association, an organisation. In our case, we gather together to come up with ideas to bring the school and our families closer together, to raise funds to help enhance our childrens experience here and to enrich the lives generally of all who are part of our extended school family.