Changing your charity's governing document

This section answers common questions about how to make changes to a charity's details or rules, and where in the future you need our approval. It will provide links to our guidance and online forms where you need to contact us.

What is a governing document?

Your governing document can be a trust deed, a constitution or, in the case of a charitable company, a memorandum and articles of association. It is a public document, and you may need to make changes to it to ensure your charity continues to operate effectively. If you have made changes you may need approval. This section is about who you will need approval from.

In the future, we will give detailed guidance about how changes to governing documents can be made, and that guidance will depend on:

  • your charity type;
  • the nature of the changes you want to make; and,
  • what it says in your charity's governing document.

For example, making changes to how your charity is administered will be more straightforward than if you are making changes to your charity’s objects or purposes. The guidance will provide particular information about how to go about making changes in the different circumstances which may arise.

The information below is about some changes which will be brought in by the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008, which will make it easier for charities to make changes to their governing documents. Charitable companies - consent to be obtained from the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland

If your charity is also a registered company, you must obtain consent to changes to your company's objects clauses from the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. 

The Commission's consent is required before you file your amended governing document with Companies House, and before HMRC are informed of the change.

Guidance on the Commission's process for seeking consent for charitable companies is available here.

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