With the recent news that CIOs will be available in December it is timely to provide a reminder of what a CIO is.

CIO stands for Charitable Incorporated Organisation and it is a new legal form that will soon be available for adoption by charitable institutions.


  • It is an incorporated form of charity which is not a company;
  • It does not have to register with Companies House, only with the Charity Commission;
  • It can enter into contracts in its own name and may hold property in that name too;
  • Its trustees will normally have limited or no liability for the debts of the CIO;
  • It is created once it is registered by the Commission.

When can we adopt it?

A key point to note about CIOs is that there is no minimum annual income required before a CIO can be established. HOWEVER the Charity Commission is staggering its registration process to help it cope with the expected high demand.

If you are considering creating a new charity and you expect to have an annual income greater than £5,000 the window opens to applications, we understand, from 10th December 2012.

If you are an existing unincorporated charity the Charity Commission has indicated that applications will be accepted from March 2013 (existing unincorporated charity with annual income over £250,000), from May 2013 (annual income between £100,000 and £250,000), from July 2013 (annual income between £25,000 and £100,000), from October 2013 (between £5,000 and £25,000) and from January 2014 with annual incomes of less than £5,000.

If you would like further information on this subject or have any comments please contact Gerald Kidd or your usual contact at Pothecary Witham Weld.