If your church or organisation is a CIO or a charitable company, the government’s Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act – which came into force on 26th June 2020 – has implications for you, in particular your requirements for members’ meetings and voting procedures.
We recommend you read this article with our free advice note on remote members meetings and voting which goes into the issues raised below in greater detail:
What is the Act’s purpose?
The Act is designed to make temporary changes to the law relating to the governance and regulation of incorporated organisations. Many of these changes are related to companies who are in financial trouble so they can maximise their chance of surviving in the current economic climate. However, there are some changes to the regulations which govern how CIOs and companies hold meetings.
How will the Act affect us?
The government has already produced guidance for charity trustees regarding how to conduct trustee meetings during this time (see our article ‘Making Decisions as Trustees During Covid-19’). What about members’ meetings or Annual General Meetings (AGMs)? This new bill is temporarily relaxing some requirements for CIOs and companies, meaning you should be able to comply with the law regarding charity meetings while keeping your members safe.
So, what can you do if you are supposed to meet for an AGM soon as a church or organisation? How can you do this safely? This new Act means that if you have a deadline to have an AGM between March 26th and September 30th this year, then you can hold the meeting at any time during that period. That means you can postpone a members’ meeting up until 30th September if you need to.
You can also meet electronically even if your governing documents don’t stipulate this. So, you can meet via Skype, Zoom, Teams or a similar platform and still hold a valid AGM.
Where can I find further information?
This new Act also makes some temporary changes to the deadlines for charitable companies filing accounts and other notices with Companies House. For more information about this see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/corporate-insolvency-and-governance-bill-2020-factsheets/companies-house-filings
If you want to know more about this legislation, see the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s guidance ‘Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 2020: factsheets’.