Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)

CIO is the latest legal structure available to charities, and came in to force in December 2012.


  • Is an incorporated form of charity which is not a company, registers with the Charities Commission only and not with Companies House.
  • Is only created when it is registered by the Charities Commission
  • Can make contracts in its own right
  • Has trustees that will usually have limited liability or no accountability for the debts of the CIO.

For some years, we have recommended this model for the constitution and legal structure of Cylchoedd Meithrin voluntary management committees.

This model protects committees and limits committee members’ financial liabilities (to nothing) but requires presenting a set of annual accounts to the Charities Commission.

We would encourage every Cylch Meithrin to establish itself as a CIO (rather than a classic charity). We have a registration pack and a team of specialists available to support you through the process as well as a Charity Commission pre-approved constitution ready for your use. More information on the process can be found in the Little Purple Book on Charitable Issues.