Towards the end of 2020, we let you know about a governance issue in our articles of association causing NSUN members to potentially be liable in the unlikely case of insolvency. In 2021, we commissioned an internal report on alternative structures that would help us address this issue. As a result, the Board of Trustees proposed to change the legal structure of NSUN from a Charitable Company to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
The final stages of this change was approved by membership vote at the February 2023 NSUN AGM, and following the work resulting from this to change our legal structure, our registration as a CIO with the Charity Commission is now complete. You can read all about the reasoning behind the proposed change here, but it’s important to note that this change does not affect any of the work we do or our status as a membership organisation regulated by the Charity Commission. The roles and responsibilities of both NSUN staff and trustees are unchanged and members will continue to vote on key matters at the AGM (including appointing NSUN’s trustees).
The key change is that we are now solely regulated by the Charity Commission as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, and have a new constitution which replaces our old Articles of Association and means that the potential £10 liability (called a guarantee), which might have previously fallen to members in the unlikely event that we became insolvent, has been completely removed.
We introduced a temporary “supporters” category in 2020 when we became aware of this governance issue in order to provide a way for people to remain (or become) members of NSUN without any potential for being asked to provide this guarantee, and this change now means that we can remove this category. Everyone currently registered under this category has been contacted to be asked which membership category they would like to join: individual or user-led group.
We are also introducing a permanent “supporter” option (for people without lived experience or groups that are not user-led but are interested in the work of user-led groups and in NSUN’s wider work of influencing and changemaking). This is replacing and widening the current “ally organisation” category of membership.
If you have any questions about any of this, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.