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Creating a closure plan

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Depending on your route to closure and your legal structure, you may have different legal duties and wider responsibilities.

You should set a closure plan which includes details of:

  • what tasks must be completed before closure
  • how the tasks will be completed
  • when and in what order tasks will be completed. When developing this timeline remember that some tasks must be completed before others can be started. This timeline should include an intended closure date
  • who’s responsible for delivering each task
  • who’s managing the process and checking tasks have been completed.

For a small organisation, the plan may be as simple as a checklist of tasks.

For larger organisations, it may be a more in-depth set of linked documents with specific working groups or different plans for different areas of closure. If you have a business continuity plan this may include some useful pointers for what tasks to consider.

You’ll need to confirm some details before you set your plan.

Unincorporated associations or trusts, charitable companies, and community interest organisations are all governed by different legal rules and requirements when closing.

Read the Charity Commission’s guidance on how to close a charity for details of what information is needed. You can also use this to develop your timeline for closing.

You may have additional considerations if you're a linked charity.

Relationships with non-charities

When closing your organisation you should identify and act on any risks which come from ending a relationship with an organisation that isn’t a charity.

Your charity’s resources or activities shouldn’t fund or support non-charitable purposes.

You should review the Charity Commission's guidance on relationships with a non-charity and seek additional advice as needed.

Insolvency

If your organisation is unable to pay its debts and doesn’t have assets sufficient to cover the costs it faces, you may be insolvent.

This may affect whether you can close voluntarily or whether you need to enter administration.

You can find further details in our financial difficulties and insolvency guidance.

Your closure team

You’ll need to decide which people will be available to assist with the closure.

Create initial timelines for different members of staff and volunteers leaving the organisation. This will help you consider what capacity will be available for specific tasks.

Use this information to consider who can complete tasks and whether you require additional interim support to help you close. Some organisations may appoint interim managers to give them additional capacity or skills during the closure period.

Our trusted supplier Atkinson HR Consulting can offer support with interim leadership.

Final records

Depending on your activities and legal form you may be required to retain records.

This may be due to:

  • a legal requirement. For example, a charitable company must retain accounting records at least three years after the year they were produced
  • a grant or contractual record. For example, previous statutory funders may require records to be available for seven years
  • active legal proceedings, or if your organisation is responding to a safeguarding concern.

Legacy events or activities

You may want to host an event to mark the closure of the organisation.

Some organisations produce a book of memories or a new legacy webpage sharing details of what the organisation achieved.

This decision will affect your closure tasks and budget.

Asset register

You should ideally have an organisational asset register listing all physical assets. This includes items like computers, cameras and furniture.

If you don’t have an asset register, your latest statutory accounts will include details of assets in the organisation.

Update the asset register and include any recent items and their current value. This decision will affect your closure budget and decisions on transferring assets.

Impact of your closure

If you work with people who will be vulnerable or put at risk by the closure of the organisation, carefully consider what arrangements can be made to support them going forward and provide details.

You may need to consider informing other like minded charities or statutory services in advance and consider how they will respond to the change.

Depending on your route to closure and your legal structure, you may have different legal duties and wider responsibilities. You should adapt our advice to your context and take specialist advice when needed.

Get more advice on deciding to close.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 07 July 2023

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