Typically small charities (including those in the Early Years sector) have to go through the burden of dual registration with both the Charity Commission and Companies House in order to retain charitable status and at the same time gain the protection offered by incorporation. This has required additional registration fees, and the submission of returns to both organisations, as well as ensuring compliance with both charity and company law.
In 2013 the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (or CIO) structure was created which allowed for a single registration with the Charity Commission. This was great for newly formed charities but sadly the bureaucracy involved in converting from charitable company status to a CIO has put many small charities off making this change.
In recognition of this, from 1st January 2018, a new simplified conversation process has been introduced. This means that every small charity should review its legal status and consider whether making this change is right for them. As with all such decisions, there are pros and cons to be considered, so don’t rush into this and take legal advice if you’re not sure.