How to Write A Governing Document


A governing document acts as a rule book. It sets out your organisation’s purposes (‘objects’), the activities (‘powers’) it will engage in, who (‘trustees’) can be a member and other rules about payments, who can make changes to these rules,  how decisions are made and disputes are resolved. It can include changes that can be made as a result of an emergency, such as delays to submitting accounts or holding and AGM.

You can find templates online from the Charity Commission and OSCR has an extensive range of tools to help write a governing document. You will need the correct document depending on the type of organisation or group. If your organisation or charity is associated with a national group, it may have templates you can use. 


The legal forms information leaflet from OSCR (link below) is a great starting point.


Key points:


A governing document is your organisation’s rule book
Although it may seem quite daunting, there is lots of help and support


Links for more information


How to write your charity's governing document
How to set out your charity's purposes and rules in its governing document, how to start using it and how to change it.
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-write-your-charitys-governing-document#how-to-write-your-charitys-purposes-objects

Governing Documents and Meetings
A comprehensive list of helps and examples of governing documents.
https://www.oscr.org.uk/guidance-and-forms/guidance-and-good-practice-for-charity-trustees/governing-documents-and-meetings

Glossary of Terms
An excellent pool of terms and links to the underpinning legislation
https://www.oscr.org.uk/guidance-and-forms/glossary-of-terms#GoverningDocument

Charities and Coronavirus: An update from the regulator
For the latest information on contacting the Scottish Charity Regulator and a FAQ responses related to holding digital meetings.
https://www.oscr.org.uk/news/charities-and-coronavirus-an-update-from-the-regulator/

Legal Form Fact Sheet OSCR
The link leads to a table which sets out some of the key characteristics of the most common types of legal form used by Scottish charities. This comparison may help you consider which legal form is suitable for the proposed charity.
https://www.oscr.org.uk/media/2506/legal-forms-factsheet.pdf