What is a constitution?
- A constitution is the governing document adopted by an organisation to define its objectives, membership criteria and procedures for meetings, elections and how it will function.
- As a formal set of rules a constitution brings structure to an organisation and is a basic requirement for applying for grant funding.
- After being signed by the management committee at the inaugural meeting of the organisation, the constitution cannot be amended without adhering to the procedure specified in the included amendments clause (or in the case of a charity, without the additional consent of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator).
What type of governing document do I need?
The type of governing document depends on the proposed legal structure of the organisation.
- An unincorporated association will have a constitution.
- A trust will have a trust deed.
- A Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) will have a constitution suitable for the type of SCIO structure (single or two tier) that has been selected.
- Organisations established as either a company limited by guarantee or a Community Interest Company (CIC) will have a memorandum and articles.
For more information go to the legal structures section
Governing document templates
When developing a draft constitution it is useful to refer to or even edit, particularly in the case of a SCIO, an existing template. However, it is important that, where necessary, the constitution is customised to reflect the individual needs of the organisation. The content and purpose of each clause must be fully understood and not simply included as it was part of an example.
Below are templates relative to each type of structure.
- Unincorporated association applying for charitable status
- Single tier SCIO
- Two tier SCIO
- Company limited by guarantee
For further information about constitutions contact Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 01698 300390