If it ain't broke why fix it?
future status of the museum.
The transfer of Chard and District Museum Society to Chard and District Museum CIO.
What is it all about?
Chard Museum has grown in the size and the scale of its operations and ambitions since its original inception as an unincorporated charitable association in 1974. This has led to greater legal and contractual complexities which currently fall on the trustees and members individually because, as an unincorporated body, the Museum has no legal personality in its own right.
The solution proposed by Trustees, and now ready for approval by members, is for the museum to be run as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). Incorporation by transfer to CIO is now the accepted route for smaller and medium sized charities to achieve the security provided by incorporation. Many museums in the South West and beyond have gone down that route and are reaping the rewards.
Full details of the benefits of becoming a CIO are set out in this document, but the end result of this action will be that Chard and District Museum will be a forward looking, well run museum that meets the stringent requirements of Arts Council England and that is able to secure the commitment of individuals and funders to invest time and money in its activities. The action is needed so that the Museum can continue to operate and meet the needs and interests of members and the of the wider community in Chard in an increasingly challenging legal and financial environment.
What steps does the transfer involve?
Simply put, transferring to CIO involves setting up a new charity (the CIO) with the same charitable objects as the old charity and then transferring the assets and liabilities (collections, cash, contracts, leases, furniture and fitting) of the old charity to the new one. Once this is completed the old charity is dissolved and will no longer exist.
What does it mean to me as a Member?
Membership will transfer from the old charity to the new one so that you can continue to receive the benefits membership brings. The model of CIO that Trustees have chosen has a voting membership (Association model), so you will still be able to have a say in the way the charity is run. This is normally through attendance at the AGM where you are asked to approve the previous year’s accounts and annual report and elect trustees. Trustees of both the old and the new charity will observe all the necessary data protection requirements in handling your personal data during the transfer process.
Before the transfer can take place though, as members of the old charity, and in line with its constitution, you will be asked at the AGM, scheduled for 18th November, to give your formal support to the transfer of its assets to the new CIO and to its dissolution and removal from the Register of Charities.
Please be aware that to vote at the forthcoming AGM and enjoy the other benefits of membership you must have paid your 2020 membership subscription for Chard and District Museum Society.
Who will be the Trustees of the CIO?
Several of the trustees of the old charity are willing to be trustees of the new one. Some of the existing trustees will take the opportunity of the change to step down and continue to be involved in the museum in other ways. The change is also an opportunity to recruit new trustees. Do get in touch if you are interesting in becoming a trustee. Any vacancies will also be advertised in this newsletter.
What progress has been made to date?
The Working Party was set up to progress the transition between the two exisiting organisations. Substantial headway has been made and we ready to set out the next moves. These are:
Secure grant funding to employ specialist advice - Achieved April 2020
Draw up the constitution for the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) and have it approved by the Charity Commission - Achieved August 2020
Draw up a list of assets to be transferred from the old charity to the new CIO - Achieved August 2020
Approve transfer of assets - Deadline AGM 18th November 2020
Approve dissolution of the old charity - Deadline AGM 18th November 2020
Transfer assets and liabilities from the old charity to the CIO - Target early December 2020
CIO begins running the museum - late December 2020
Final accounts of old charity approved and old charity dissolved - March 2021
What are the advantages of becoming a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO):
The advantages for organisations like Chard Museum in transferring to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation include:
The Museum is a legal entity in its own right, able to enter contracts and hold property as a legal entity;
This takes the individual responsibility for contracts and holding the charity’s assets off individual Trustees and members (four holding trustees), rather than the museum , as currently being responsible for the lease of the Museum premises
Incorporation reduces the personal risk of being a Trustee of the charity, which can encourage people to stand for office (though Trustees can still be personally liable if they are found to have acted without due diligence or illegally);
It provides the opportunity to review, clarify and modernise the Museum’s constitution, to take account of changes in the law, in society and in technology;
Incorporation through transfer to CIO is more straightforward than registering as a charitable company with Companies House. CIOs report only to the Charity Commission, are bound only by charity law, not charity and company law as is the case with charitable companies.
It applies current best practice in charity governance, ensuring that Chard Museum is a strong and resilient organisation, able to use its assets and resources to best effect in furthering its charitable objects and public benefit goals;
It demonstrates to funders that the museum is well governed and a more attractive recipient for their investment;
It meets the requirements of Arts Council England’s Accreditation Scheme by better protecting the irreplaceable heritage assets for which the charity is the custodian on behalf of the public.
The constitution of the new CIO, The Chard and District Museum, is available as is the constitution of the existing charity, the Chard and District Museum Society.
You can read about the transfer process on the Charity Commission website
You can also learn more about being a Charity Trustee
Points of Communication
Get in touch with any members of the CIO working group who will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Please use the ‘contact us’ facility on the website , email firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message at the Museum.
Check that you are receiving the monthly e-newsletter, which will contain all updates on progress
Drafted by Vicky Dawson, Heritage Consultant
Agreed by the 50 Years and Beyond Working Group
Agreed by The Chard and District Museum Trustees 01st Sept 2020
Vince Lean, Chairman, Chard and District Museum.
28th August 2020
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