Legal and governance training and consultancy
for the voluntary sector

Ch.1: Setting up an organisation
Ch.2: Unincorporated organisations
Ch.3: Incorporated organisations
Ch.4: Charitable status, charity law & regulation
Ch.5: The organisation's objects
Ch.6: The organisation's name
Ch.7: The governing document
Ch.8: Registering as a charity
Ch.9: Branches, subsidiaries & group structures
Ch.10: Changing legal form
Ch.11: Collaborative working, partnerships and mergers
Ch.12: Members of the organisation
Ch.13: Members of the governing body
Ch.14: Officers, committees & sub-committees
Ch.15: Duties & powers of the governing body
Ch.16: Restrictions on payments & benefits
Ch.17: The registered office & other premises
Ch.18: Communication & paperwork
Ch.19: Meetings, resolutions & decision making
Ch.20: Assets & agency
Ch.21: Contracts & contract law
Ch.22: Risk & liability
Ch.23: Insurance
Ch.24: Financial difficulties & winding up
Ch.25: Employees & other workers
Ch.26: Rights, duties & the contract of employment
Ch.27: Model contract of employment
Ch.28: Equal opportunities in employment
Ch.29: Taking on new employees
Ch.30: Pay & pensions
Ch.31: Working time, time off & leave
Ch.32: Rights of parents & carers
Ch.33: Disciplinary matters, grievances & whistleblowing
Ch.34: Termination of employment
Ch.35: Redundancy
Ch.36: Employer-employee relations
Ch.37: Employment claims & settlement
Ch.38: Self employed & other contractors
Ch.39: Volunteers
Ch.40: Health & safety
Ch.41: Safeguarding children & vulnerable adults
Ch.42: Equal opportunities: goods, services & facilities
Ch.43: Data protection & use of information
Ch.44: Intellectual property
Ch.45: Publications, publicity & the internet
Ch.46: Campaigning & political activities
Ch.47: Public events, entertainment & licensing
Ch.48: Funding & fundraising: General rules
Ch.49: Fundraising activities
Ch.50: Tax-effective giving
Ch.51: Trading & social enterprise
Ch.52: Contracts & service agreements
Ch.53: Financial procedures & security
Ch.54: Annual accounts, reports & returns
Ch.55: Auditors & independent examiners
Ch.56: Corporation tax, income tax & capital gains tax
Ch.57: Value added tax
Ch.58: Investment & reserves
Ch.59: Borrowing
Ch.60: Land ownership & tenure
Ch.62: Business leases
Ch.63: Property management & the environment
Ch.64: How the law works
Ch.65: Dispute resolution & litigation

This page contains information that has appeared on Sandy Adirondack's legal update website for voluntary organisations at For current updates, including potential changes that are in the pipeline, see the legal update website.

These websites for each chapter update the 3rd edition of The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook by James Sinclair Taylor and the Charity Team at Russell-Cooke Solicitors, edited by Sandy Adirondack (Directory of Social Change, 2009). The websites are not intended as a comprehensive update and should not be treated as such.

To order a copy of The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook, print out the order form at or send an email order by clicking . It costs £60 for voluntary organisations or £90 for others, plus 10% p&p.

To avoid spamming, an email address is not given on screen. If you can't see the word 'here' or have trouble sending an email by clicking on it, the address is bookservice at, with the spaces and 'at' replaced by the @ symbol.

The information here covers the law applicable to England and Wales. It may not apply in Northern Ireland and/or Scotland. These news items are not a full or definitive statement of the law and are not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. No responsibility for loss occasioned as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting can be taken by the author.

Chapter 61

The items below formerly appeared on the legal update website for voluntary organisations and are archived here. The content may be out of date and links may not work. For current updates to the chapter, see the legal update website for voluntary organisations at


Updated 19/7/10.
Planning Aid England has updated its website at, Online resources include a guide to the planning process and a jargon buster. Telephone advice is available to charities and other voluntary organisations, either through Planning Aid England or through separate Planning Aids in London, Wales, Scotland (details on the England website).

The new My Community Space website, at, is intended for organisations that own or manage community premises and those looking for premises. Run by Community Matters, it includes advice on finding and taking on premises, managing premises, building and improving premises, maintaining premises, and getting professional advice; sources of further information and advice; and advertisements for premises available for rent or hire. The advertisements are currently only for London, but are expected to roll out nationally. Information on the website will in due course be extended to cover not only buildings, but also open spaces.

RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), in association with NCVO and the Charity Finance Directors' Group, set up Charity Property Help for charities and other voluntary organisations in 2009. The scheme provides a one-hour consultation free of charge on matters such as property strategy, property management, project management, office relocation, rent reviews, service charges, dilapidations, lease renewals, disposing of freehold and leasehold properties, capital additions, planning issues, rates, council tax, environmental issues, health and safety, Disability Discrimination Act compliance, risk and disaster management, landlord and tenant disputes, and disputes relating to boundaries, repairs, builders or insurance claims. If additional time is required, a fee is negotiated.

Details are at

Another source of information about property issues is the Ethical Property Foundation, at, which provides written briefings and training on property issues, and has a helpline for charities and other voluntary organisations.


Updated 13/8/12. This information updates ss.61.11-61.13 in The Russell-Cooke Voluntary Sector Legal Handbook (VSLH3).
In his review of the Charities Act presented to Parliament on 16 July 2012, Lord Hodgson made the following recommendations in relation to charity land, and the government commented on some of them in its interim response on 3 November 2013. The government's full response will include consideration of the Public Administration Select Committee's report on its inquiry into the Charities Act 2006 and the regulation of charities, which was published on 6 June 2013.

  • Disposals of and mortgages and other charges over charity land should be deregulated and rely on the charity trustees acting under their duty of care following Charity Commission guidance. [Chapter 10 disposals of land recommendation 1]
    Sandy's comment: There has long been criticism of the Charities Act 1993 (now 2011) requirement to obtain a qualified surveyor's report in a specified form for many disposals of charity land. But a recommendation to completely deregulate this could create situations where trustees are inadvertently in breach of their duty to safeguard the charity and its assets. Bates, Wells and Braithwaite Solicitors, in their comments on Lord Hodgson's recommendations, say, "At a time when public confidence in deregulated business is at an all time low, the prospect of removing all restrictions gives rise, in our view, to serious concerns. Rather, clear, proportionate and flexible restrictions are needed to provide trustees with a suitable cost-effective framework to deal with the process, whilst at the same time maintaining public confidence in the sector."

    In relation to mortgages, BWB say that the current requirements are sensible, relevant and easy to comply with, and removing them "is the removal of good regulation purely for the sake of change, rather than for beneficial reasons."

  • The Charity Commission should work with relevant professional bodies to develop this guidance and include specific types of common transaction — including acquisitions as well as disposals. [Chapter 10 disposals of land recommendation 2]

  • The Charity Commission should still approve disposals to "connected persons", plus mortgages and other charges granted to connected persons. [Chapter 10 disposals of land recommendation 3]
Lord Hodgson's report and recommendations can be accessed on the Cabinet Office website via The government's interim response is on the Cabinet Office website via

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Governance and legal training and consultancy
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