Charities incorporation legislation

17 Mar 2011 02:09 PM

Charities will be able to own property and enter into contracts without having to rely on charity trustees or become a company after regulations to allow charities to be formed as Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIO) were today approved by the Scottish Parliament.

From April 1, new charities will be able to be formed as a SCIO, with existing charitable companies and industrial and provident societies able to convert to SCIO status from January 1, 2012.

The Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) is a new legal form, designed exclusively for Scottish charities, which will allow them to incorporate without having to become companies or industrial and provident societies.

Fergus Ewing, the Minster for Community Safety, said:

"I'm delighted that Parliament has given the green light to the creation of the SCIO. It will provide charities a cheap, simple way of incorporating, designed with their needs at its heart. I'm grateful for all those that have played a part in its development, particularly the members of the SCIO Working Group and all those who took time to respond during the consultation and discussion periods.

"The introduction of the SCIO is a milestone in charity law reform, allowing charities to incorporate without having to register with Companies House or the FSA as well as the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator."

Martin Sime, Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

"We are delighted to see the introduction of the Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation in April. SCIOs are a positive development for our sector. After a long battle, we now have a bespoke legal form for charities that gives individuals limited liability and is accessible and suitable for a wide range of organisations."

Stephen Phillips, Partner at law firm Burness, said:

"This is a great new development for the Scottish charity sector. I am convinced that the SCIO model will become the model of choice for the vast majority of new Scottish charities - and I am sure that, once the conversion process becomes available in January 2012, many existing Scottish charities currently operating as companies limited by guarantee will elect to change to the SCIO model."