A charity's governing document is the written statement that sets out its purpose, structure and describes how it will operate.
The charity trustees must make sure that the charity follows its governing document, which usually contains key information about:
- what the charity exists to do (its charitable purposes)
- what powers it has to achieve its charitable purposes
- who the charity trustees are, how many charity trustees there should be and how they are appointed and removed
- whether the charity has any members and if so who can be a member
- rules about charity trustees' and members' (if any) meetings, how they are arranged and conducted and how decisions are made and recorded
- how to change the governing document
- how to close the charity down.
The name given to the governing document will depend on your charity's legal form.
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has model governing documents for the different legal forms which will usually be acceptable to OSCR. There are also model governing documents for specific types of charities, like Playgroups or Housing Associations. If there is already a model available we recommend that you use that.