These resources will support your youth group to develop its constitution, register for Charitable Status and establish legal and administrative structures.
A management committee is a group of elected local people (adults and young people) who jointly and democratically take responsibility for running the youth group. This is typically a voluntary role and members do not receive payment.
They will ensure that the group is running effectively on a day to day basis and also work to think ahead, fundraise and engage with the wider community. Tasks of the Management Committee include:
- Making decisions about the day-today running of the group, eg/ opening times, the age range of members, the activities to be offered etc.
- Overseeing the financial arrangements of the group, such as maintaining the bank account and petty cash
- Establishing a Constitution for the organisation
- Recruiting youth workers and volunteers in a consistent and appropriate manner
- Applying for funding for the youth group
- Adhering to relevant health & safety requirements
- Ensuring the group has the necessary insurance
- Ensuring that the group has the necessary child protection policies and procedures
As a general guideline, a management committee will have between six and nine members, including these key roles:
- Prepares agendas for the meetings after consultation with the Secretary
- Chairs meetings and conducts the business in accordance with the agenda, ensuring that everyone who wishes has an opportunity to speak
- Represents the group (where appropriate) at external meetings etc.
- Ensures that annual general meetings and extraordinary general meetings are carried out according to the constitution of the organisation
- Helps the chairperson prepare agendas for the meetings
- Informs members where and when meetings will take place and sends out the agendas, together with the minutes of the last meeting
- Takes the minutes at the meetings
- Writes and receives any correspondence
- Keeps the committee’s papers in good order
- Looks after the organisation’s money
- Pays the group’s bills
- Keeps all accounts up-to-date and presents them to meetings, including annual accounts
- Liaises with the Auditor or Independent Examiner for the annual review of accounts ( if applicable )
The election of management committee members typically happens at the Annual General Meeting where names are put forward and all eligible members of the group have a vote. Your Constitution should clearly outline this process.
To help ensure that your Management Committee works effectively, you should consider developing an induction programme, to ensure everyone knows and understands your aims, policies, practice and procedures. When developing an induction programme consider providing opportunities for new committee members to:
- meet the youth workers
- meet some of the young people, ideally on a group night so they can see what you are actually doing
- be introduced to other committee members
- get copies of your constitution, aims and objectives
- get copies of your policies
- get a copy of your club information leaflet
- see a copy of your programme and current financial position
- identify any training needs the new member might wish to address
A number of organisations provide management committee training. You may want to contact your
Local Volunteer Centre
Or Youth Scotland’s Bored Meetings training for groups wishing to involve young people in their management committee.
Generally, management committees should aim to meet between three to six times per year.
There is no such thing as a typical agenda for management committee meetings, however it might include:
- Apologies received for absence
- Minutes from previous meeting
- Matters arising from the minutes
- Sub-committees reports
- Forthcoming Events
- Any other business
- Date and place of next meeting
Minutes of Meetings
Keeping a record of meetings and decisions, commonly called ‘minutes,’ allows you to check back on who said they would do what.
- who was there
- any apologies
- action that has taken place as a result of the last meeting
- notes about what happened during the meeting
- details of decisions taken including a note about who has agreed to take any future action
The minutes should then be stored, preferably in date order, so that they can be referred to at future meetings. It is good practice to circulate the minutes to the members of the committee as soon after the meeting as possible.
Annual General Meeting
One of the main ways that youth groups can monitor how well their management committee has performed is by holding an Annual General Meeting ( AGM ). The AGM provides an opportunity to review the work of the group over the previous year and also to look at the group’s finances.The AGM is also often the place where groups elect new members to their management committee or appoint replacements for those who have stood down.
Elections can take different forms and details of how and when committee members can be elected or removed will usually be laid out in your group’s constitution.
AGM’s can also be used to celebrate and promote the work of the youth group and you may wish to invite a local councillor, MSP or celebrity to speak at your event. You may also wish to hold your AGM as part of a bigger event, in which case, you may wish to seperate out the ‘bussiness’ part of your AGM from other activities. Involving young people in your AGM can also make the event more interesting and can also help to showcase the postive work that you do with young people.
A constitution lays down officially and in writing the key aims of your group, its membership and how it will be run. It is the key governing document for your group and is required if your group wants to become a charity.
a constitution should generally contain the following:
- The name of the group
- The aims and objectives of the group ( what the organisation exists to do )
- Membership details, including who can join the organisation with reference to age and geographic location
- The powers the organisation will have ( eg/ to employ staff, to fundraise )
- How and when committee members are elected and removed
- How the committee should operate and the duties of committee members ( eg/ Chairpesron, Treasurer, Secretary )
- How the organisation’s finances are to managed and accounted for, including operating arrangements for any bank accounts
- Details of the procedures for the AGM
- Altering the constitution – the conditions which must be satisfied to do so
- How the organisation will be Dissolved in the event of winding up
For additional guidance, check out the SCVO website.
Many youth groups will be happy just to set up a management committee, develop a constitution and then continue as a voluntary association (sometimes called an unincorporated association).
If you are a small youth group who has limited funding, doesn’t employ staff or own a property, then you may be happy to operate as an unincorporated association.
If you should decide to become incorporated (giving the organisation a legal identity in its own right), there are some advantages, such as increased protection for the members of the management committee in the event of a legal action.
However, becoming incorporated also brings other legally binding duties and obligations which committee members have to take very seriously.
There are different ways that a youth group can become incorporated and SCVO has detailed information about how to choose the most appropriate legal structure for your group.
A charity in Scotland is an organisation which is entered on the Scottish Charity Register. An organisation can only become a charity if it meets the ‘charity test’, meaning that it must show it has only charitable purposes and benefits the public.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) decides whether to grant an organisation charitable status and to enter it on the Register. OSCR then monitors the charity to check it complies with the law.
Benefits of Charitable Status:
- Being a charity can bring public goodwill and trust
- Some funders may only consider charities
- Tax benefits – charities may register with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Custom (HMRC) for Gift Aid and other tax relief, and may qualify for rates relief from local authorities
Responsibilities of becoming a Charity:
- All charities must submit an annual return and accounts to OSCR every year
- All accounts must be externally scrutinised by a person who is independent of the charity ( usually an Independent Examiner or an Auditor )
- Charity trustees have legal responsibilities to act in certain ways and provide certain information to OSCR and the public
- You must get OSCR’s permission before making certain changes, such as changing the organisation’s purposes or winding up
How to apply
To apply to become registered as a charity in Scotland you need to :
- Complete an application form
- Complete Trustee Declaration forms for each of your charity trustees
- Provide a copy of your group’s constitution
- Provide a recent statement of accounts ( unless your group is not yet operational )
- Provide a description of your group’s activities in order to allow OSCR to decide if your group provides public benefit
All forms listed above are available from OSCR and all completed applications should be sent to back to OSCR who will confirm receipt of your application within ten days.