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Registered Charities

Group registration

Two or more organisations that are closely related and have similar charitable purposes may choose to apply to register together under the Charities Act as a group. Each member of that group must qualify for registration under the Charities Act in its own right.

The Act refers to a group as a "single entity" but in this information sheet, we use the term "group". Once registered under the Charities Act, a group has its own name and registration number. Each group member is treated as a registered charitable entity.

Before you decide to register as part of a group, you need to be sure that it is the right option for your organisation

How does a group apply for registration?

Applying to register as a group is a two-stage process.

The parent must collect and present the information needed to show that we should treat the group as a "single entity". This includes:

The parent should use a Group Member Information Form to collect this information and include these forms with its submission. The Registration Checklist shows you what information is needed to complete a Group Member Information Form. We suggest that the parent keeps copies of these forms to help with the second stage of the process.

Make a submission : The parent must make a written request to us, asking for the group of organisations to be treated as a "single entity". This must be signed by an officer of the parent.

Below is a list of items that the submission must, or should, include.

To differentiate the name of the group from any of its member organisations, the submission must include:

It should also include:

The submission may also include if you wish

Once we decide to treat the organisations as a group, we will write to the parent to outline the proposed terms and conditions. These will be set on a case-by-case basis and will vary from one group to another.

The terms and conditions may relate to

Once the terms and conditions have been agreed between the Commission and the parent, the parent can proceed to stage two of the application process.

Apply : The parent makes an application to register the group by requesting form 5 — Application by a group for registration as a single charitable entity.

The parent will need to complete Form 5 showing the terms and conditions agreed, and the terms and conditions set for the group will help the parent complete Form 5 as will copies of the Group Member Information Forms for each member organisation.

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Does your organisation meet the criteria to register as part of a group?

Two or more organisations may register together as a group if they

Does your organisation qualify for registration under the Charities Act?

It can apply for registration if

Does your organisation agree to be part of the group?

All organisations must agree to register as part of a group, so you should make sure you know who the other organisations in your proposed group are.

Does your organisation have similar charitable purposes to the others in the proposed group?

You must have similar charitable purposes to the other organisations in the group. The Commission will be looking for similarity of charitable purposes between group members.

Which organisation will act as parent for the proposed group?

The parent leads the application process on behalf of the group and must understand and accept its ongoing responsibilities. We explain more about this below under the headings Who will lead your group? and What are their responsibilities? All organisations in the group must agree on which one will be the parent and take these responsibilities.

Does your organisation have a close relationship with the group parent?

You must have an affiliation or close relationship with the parent organisation of the proposed group.

How does your organisation manage its finances?

You should think about how you will provide financial information for Annual Returns. You should also work with the other members of the group to decide how to file Annual Returns and how the parent will report financial information for the group.

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What happens once the group is registered?

The following information relating to each group member will usually be publicly available on the Charities Register:

The following information relating to the group will usually be publicly available on the Charities Register

However, the group's terms and conditions might allow some of this information to be restricted from public access on the Register.

Notifying changes and filing Annual Returns

Obligations under the Charities Act, such as notifying changes to the information held on the Register and filing Annual Returns, will be met either by the parent, or by each group member. This will depend on the terms and conditions set for the group.

Before sending us information about changes, the parent must first check to see if any of the changes impact on the information held on the Register for the group. If they do, the parent must notify us of the changes as set out in the group's terms and conditions.

Our information sheet – Annual Returns under the Charities Act explains more about filing Annual Returns.

Annual Return fees will vary from group to group, depending on how the group files them. This will be set out in the terms and conditions for the group.

Parent's powers and responsibilities

We will usually work with the parent on any matters relating to the group or any of its members. The parent should, subject to terms and conditions

Group member's responsibilities

The terms and conditions will determine how the group will communicate issues relating to membership of the group to us.

The group member should (subject to terms and conditions):

Removal of a group member from the group

We can remove a group member from a group if we are no longer satisfied that:

We can also remove a group member from a group if:

When we consider removal, we must allow both the group member affected and the parent the opportunity to have their say on the matter.

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What are the responsibilities and powers of the parent?

When two or more organisations wish to register together as a group, they must first agree on which one of them will become the parent. The parent may be any one of the organisations that is part of the group. For example, it may be the head office, national body or one of the local offices. The parent is not an organisation set up especially to act as parent.

As well as leading the application process, the parent has responsibilities and powers after we have registered the group. Its responsibilities and powers are to

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