Community groups of all types must have a governing document which sets out the rules of the organisation and details the group's aims, obligations and powers. 

A constitution is a type of governing document. Your constitution is important because:

  • It ensures that your group's work is conducted in a responsible way and in accordance with the law
  • It makes your group accountable and ensures your group makes decisions in a democratic way
  • It ensures that no one person wields undue power in your group
  • It tells potential funders how you conduct your business and what your group hopes to achieve. Many funders will ask to see your constitution before awarding funding

The type of constitution that you adopt will depend upon the legal structure your group takes. This means that you can only write your constitution once you have agreed the structure of your group.

Model Constitutions

The most straightforward way to create your constitution is to use a model constitution. We recommend using our template constitution for unincorporated association to start.

Our template constitution has been designed primarily for small groups just setting up and which have an income of less than £5,000 a year. Download ourTemplate Constitution to get started.

There are also model constitutions available on the Charity Commission’s website, but these are more complex.

Once you have chosen a model constitution, you simply need to read through the document and fill in the gaps.

Amending your constitution

The constitution is a working document and you should review it regularly. As your group develops you may need to make amendments. The constitution will detail how you go about making these changes.

Writing your own constitution

It is possible to create your own constitution, but we don’t recommend you do this at the outset because constitutions need to consider a great deal of legal concerns. This makes them difficult to write. If you feel that you may want to create your own constitution, the Charity Commission Website can help. You can also contact us for help.