L12.0 References in Documents L12.0 References in Documents
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Note: MUST* and MUST NOT* (with asterisk) denotes legal requirement
MUST and MUST NOT (without asterisk) denotes requirement of the Code of Fundraising Practice
This section applies to fundraising organisations which are charities and concerns statements about charitable status on organisations’ documents and materials
L12.2 UK-wide Requirements
Charities that are registered companies must adhere to the following requirements under the Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008 in addition to the jurisdiction-specific charity law rules:
a) The charity’s business letters, order forms and website MUST* state the following:-
- The company’s full name;
- The company number;
- The place of registration of the company (e.g. England and Wales or Scotland);
- The address of the company’s registered office (and if more than one address is mentioned, it MUST* be made clear which is the registered office);
- If the name of the charity does not include the word ‘Limited’, a statement MUST* be made that the charity is a limited company; and
- If the names of the charity’s directors are included on the letterhead (which is not compulsory) then all directors MUST* be named.
b) The company’s registered name MUST* also be disclosed on all notices and other official publications; all cheques, bills of exchange, promissory notes and endorsements; all orders for money, goods or services; all invoices and other demands for payment, receipts and letters of credit; all applications for licences to carry on a trade or activity; and all other forms of its business correspondence and documentation.
L12.3 England and Wales Requirements
a) All notices, advertisements and documents issued by or on behalf of any registered charity with an income over £10,000 that contain a request for money or other property for the benefit of the charity MUST* include a statement that the organisation is a registered charity. It is best practice to include the organisation’s registered charity number on such documents.
b) If the charity is a registered company, then its company number, place of registration (e.g. England and Wales) and the address of the registered office of the charity MUST* also be included if the fundraising material takes the form of a business letter or is published on the charity’s website. As a registered company, the name of the charity MUST* also be disclosed on all fundraising materials that take any of the following forms:
- (a) Business letters;
- (b) Notices and other official publications;
- (c) bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, cheques and orders for money or goods purporting to be signed on behalf of the charity;
- (d) any documents relating to the sale or purchase of an interest in land purporting to be executed by the charity; and
- (e) bills, invoices, receipts and letters of credit.
c) If the charity is a registered company and its name does not include the word ‘Limited’, a statement that the charity is a limited company MUST* also be included on all business correspondence.
d) If the charity uses for fundraising, a trading subsidiary that is a company limited by shares having a share capital, as well as its company number, place of registration and registered office address, the amount of paid up share capital MUST* also be disclosed if the fundraising material takes the form of a business letter or is published on its website.
L12.4 Scotland Requirements.
The only organisations that can call themselves “charities” in Scotland are those that are registered with OSCR (the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator).
a) Charities that are so registered MUST* comply with the Charities References in Documents (Scotland) Regulations 2007 and make certain statements about their status in their documents (see Section 9.0). Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIOs) are subject to slightly different rules but MUST* comply with section 52 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations Regulations 2011 in relation to the statements that they make.
Foreign charities may refer to themselves as charities established under the law of a country or territory other than Scotland without being registered, but only if they satisfy the criteria in section 14 of the 2005 Act.
b) Under the Charities References in Documents (Scotland) Regulations 2007, charities entered on the Scottish Charity Register (other than SCIOs) MUST* specify the following in their documents:
- The charity’s full name;
- Any other commonly used name;
- Its Scottish Charity Number; and
- If its name does not include ‘charity’ or ‘charitable’ it must state that it is a charity.
c) It MUST* use the term ‘charity’, ‘charitable body’, ‘registered charity’, or ‘charity registered in Scotland’. The terms ‘Scottish charity’ and ‘registered Scottish charity’ are reserved for charities established in Scotland or managed/controlled wholly or mainly there.
d) Where a charity takes the form of a SCIO, the information it MUST* state is its full name and, if its name does not include reference to its legal form, the fact that it is a SCIO. As a matter of good practice, it MUST state its charity number and, when disclosing its SCIO status, state that it is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation rather than using the acronym SCIO.
e) In the case of both SCIOs and any other type of charity, this information MUST* be stated in all business letters; e-mails; advertisements; notices; official publications; any document soliciting money/other property for the charity; promissory notes; endorsements; orders for money or goods; bills rendered; invoices; receipts; letters of credit; statutory accounts; educational or campaign documentation; conveyances which create, transfer, vary or extinguish an interest in land; contractual documentation; bills of exchange (except cheques), and the home page of the charity’s website.
f) The rules apply to documents which are issued or signed by others on a charity’s behalf as well as by the charity itself. All charities registered in Scotland MUST* comply, regardless of size or income, although new charities (other than SCIOs) are given an initial six month ‘grace’ period.
g) In addition to the UK regulations, Scottish charitable companies MUST* comply with section 112(6) of the Companies Act 1989. If the company’s name does not include ‘charity’ or ‘charitable’, it MUST* disclose its charitable status on all business letters; all notices and other official publications; all bills of exchange; promissory notes; endorsements; cheques; orders for money or goods purporting to be signed by or on its behalf; all conveyances purporting to be executed by it; all bills of parcels; invoices; receipts; and all letters of credit. Unlike the charity law rules, this also applies to cheques. Any person acting on behalf of a charitable company who issues a cheque without this statement commits an offence and will be personally liable for the sum due on the cheque if it is not honoured by the company
L12.5 Northern Ireland Requirements
- The Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 will require all organisations which operate under one of the recognised charitable purposes, to register with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.
- Once it has satisfied the ‘Public Benefit Test’ and also falls under a recognised charitable purpose, that organisation will be supplied with a Northern Ireland Charity Registration (NIC) Number and placed on a public register of charities.
- In contrast to England and Wales legislation, there appears to be no threshold for turnover when registering a charity. It means that all organisations large and small will have to register eventually.
- When a charity is preparing to register, it MUST* first submit their constitution so the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland can examine whether or not it satisfies the public benefit test and also that it comes under one of the charitable purposes laid out in the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008