We’re changing our status as a charity | AUA Blog


Dr. Chris Ince
Secretary, Governance and Compliance
SOAS, University of London

At the forthcoming Annual Conference and the AUA Annual General Meeting, we will be asking members to approve some changes to the Association’s governance arrangements. This short blog is to give you an advance warning of these before the formal AGM papers come out and provide a little background to why the Board of Trustees is recommending these changes.

The AUA is established as a charity and is registered with the Charity Commission and submits annual returns. As part of the Board’s regular review of its effectiveness and the Association’s governance it has discussed the current status and the possibility of moving to become a “Charitable Incorporated Organisation”.

The background to this relatively new corporate and charitable structure whilst retaining the wider involvement of our membership is covered in detail on the gov.uk website. There is also a good analysis of the benefits of moving to this structure on the following charity advice website and on this resource website. Some members will also be aware that this is a structure that many Students’ Unions have chosen to adopt.

This is a relatively new structure available to charities but one that offers some significant benefits. A key benefit is removing the potential risk to individual trustees and financial liability that they could incur. The new structure would also future proof the Association for other situations, such as wishing to directly enter in to legal contracts – rather than everything having to be managed via our commercial subsidiary (AUA Enterprises).

We have worked with our external auditors to develop a draft constitution that is based on the Charity Commission’s CIO model document but also reflects our current constitution. This document will be the one that comes to the AGM for approval along with some minor modifications to the related bye-laws to reflect the new arrangements and any consequent numbering changes!

I look forward to seeing you at the AGM but do contact me in advance of the meeting if you have any specific questions or points you would like us to address.

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