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College Students’ Associations: what about charitable status?

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Presentation on theme: "College Students’ Associations: what about charitable status?"— Presentation transcript:

1 College Students’ Associations: what about charitable status?

2 What does it mean to be a charity? Means OSCR has entered you on a public register You meet a test in law – the ‘charity test’ You’re run by charity trustees – with legal duties Need to keep and supply accounts and information to OSCR

3 What are the benefits of being a charity? The charity ‘brand’ – public goodwill and trust Access to grant funding Tax reliefs – if relevant: gift aid Rates relief on properties being used for charitable purposes Helps get clarity about who’s in charge and how its run

4 What do you need to think about? Is it right for you? Charitable status involves duties and limitations as well as benefits – Reporting to OSCR every year – Need to get our consent to do certain things – A set of duties for your trustees and members to comply with – and investigation and consequences if they don’t

5 Meeting the charity test To meet the charity test, your association Must – only exist for charitable purposes – provide public benefit Must not – Let its property be used for non-charitable purposes – Let government ministers control or direct it – Be a political party or set up to further the purposes of a political party

6 Meeting the charity test What does public benefit look like? Do your association’s activities provide public benefit? Are they clearly related to its purposes? Is there any disbenefit to the public? Is there any private benefit? Do you unduly restrict who can get access to your activities? It’s the whole picture!

7 What do you need to think about? A constitution What kind of organisation are you at the moment? What kind of organisation best suits your needs? What does your constitution need to cover? NUS models?

8 What do you need to think about? Assets If your association becomes a charity its assets are charitable assets, and are protected What kind of assets will it have? Buildings? Equipment? cash? What kind of risks are involved to these assets?

9 What do you need to think about? Activities What things does your association do? Are they covered by its purposes and constitution? What kind of risks are involved? What other laws do you have to comply with? – Licensing, employment, data protection, equalities

10 What do you need to think about? Charity trustees Charity trustees are the people in general management and control of a charity. Who are the people currently in charge of your association? Is this the way it ought to be? Have you got the right mix of people? Do they have the right skills? If not, where do you get those skills from?

11 What do you need to think about? Charity trustees – duties What are the four general duties of charity trustees? to act in the interests of the charity and put the interests of the charity before any other body to ensure that the charity operates in a manner consistent with its purposes to act with due care and diligence to ensure that the charity complies with the Act and with other relevant legislation

12 What do you need to think about? Charity trustees – duties the four general duties of charity trustees? How often do you get new trustees/committee members/sabbaticals? How do you train them? Do you have paid staff? How do they relate to the charity trustees? Who’s really in charge? Where do they turn for advice?

13 What do you need to think about? Members Who are the members of your association? How do you know who they are? What’s their role? What do they get to decide?

14 What do you need to think about? Relationship to the college The law gives colleges oversight of student associations – ‘fair and democratic’, accountable Tension between control and independence What’s the right balance? Conflicts of interest?

15 What do you need to think about? Relationship to the college How does your association relate to the college? What say does the college have in your decision-making? Who controls assets? What is the right distance? Worth thinking about scenarios

16 Martin Tyson


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