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Hi folk, I know this has been covered on here before, as I remember reading posts, but my searching skills have failed me so if anyone could help me out I'd be grateful.


Well, we've reached the time of year again where we lose one committee and gain another and the constant change is really frustrating, people just get used to working in one way and along comes another committee and it's back to square one... anyway enough of my rant... I read on here about settings that wanted to stop being committee led, but stay as a charity and instead be run by a group of constant trustees.


Basically, what I want to know is has anyone successfully switched status and if so do you have to actually close the playgroup, sack staff and then re-instate them, and if so can you keep your old name etc? Also do you have to physically close and then re-open or can it be a quiet changeover so the children aren't affected?


I know what I'm hoping for is a magic wand ... but well if you don't ask you don't get!!!


Thank you for your help


Suebear x

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Hi Sue Bear


I too manage a charity setting and know what you are going through each year with new committee :o can be extremely frustrating and i find it increasingly difficult to keep members interested and motivated. Sorry don't have any answers regarding a constant trustee group, but have you thought about contacting the PLA or your LA for advice. We have a group of 'trusty' trustees who have stayed on committee (but don't attend meetings very often!) but dot the i and cross the t's if you know what i mean! i stand up there every intake evening each September and sprout on about 'you as parents run the centre'..but goes in one ear and out the other!

will watch this topic with interest!

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have just done this! we were committee run for decades (some better than others!) we have now become a limited company (still a registered charity) and now have four trustees. this reduces the liability on the trustees to a nominal amount and changing trustees is no more difficult than changing committee members.....though they dont have to be parents of the group or current users.

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I'm afraid I'm reading and running but just wanted to say I am within days of finalising the transfer over to us being a workers co-operative which is led purely by the staff, the staff are the directors etc etc and nothing has had to change. If you want more info let me know and I'll come back on later lol

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we have also gone from committee run to a limited company. You dont need to close but you do need to do tupee meetings with all your staff, and re-apply to ofsted. Let me know if you want more info... Good Luck :o

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Guest jenpercy
what the difference between a trustee and a commitee member ?

The difference is that committee members don't know that they are trustees and personally liable for the setting's debts - but they are!!!

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ooh just got home and soo many questions (so nice to feel needed!!!)

Ok lets see....

We used our accountant to sort this all out ...he charged us mates rates but it wasnt hugely expensive. He set up the company for us and the solicitor had to check the personal details of the trustees (we opted for four...but you can have more) the trustees had to sign some papers and the accountant sent everything to companies house who registered us and sent back the company number. The trustees have to be crb checked (like the committee) but can stand for as long as they like (or till you ask them to) their liability is reduced to a nominal amount. I would suggest that you choose your trustees carefully, try to think of them like governors at school so choose someone to look after education/maintenence/budgets/staffing ...that sort of thing, maybe playing to their strengths but they dont have to be 'members' of the pre-school.

Changing the charity number (which if your registered you have to do after you become a company) takes longer but again our accountant did it all for us (this can take months to come through). You do not have a constitution but run under the articles of the company instead (covers similar things). The main reason we went for incorporation was because we were enteringinto a lease agreement and it meant if we went out of business the costs would be born by the business not by the committee

I would suggest that if you are interested then have a chat with an accountant (they probably wont charge you for an initial conversation)

The psla have a book on incorporation.

You can register with companies house yourself...but i prefered to have a proofessional in the field to do it so that i didn't mess it up!!

You can still trade under the same name (as long as it is not registered by another company) and there should be littleyou need to change .Staff can carry on in their emplyoment with you as long as this is recorded (so pension arrangements are not affected etc)

Hope this helps :o

(my trustees were made up from my committee chair/vice and two other members)

we have chosen to set this upin a way now that i am the manager and report back to the trustees.They need to meet at least once a year. changing trustees is easy ...just needs to be registered at companies house (+ofsted/charities commission)

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Can I just ask a few more questions. If your trustees still have the same responsibilities as a committee would such as " education/maintenence/budgets/staffing" and you still have to report back to them then what is the point? Sorry, I dont mean that as it reads- it reads really rude and it isn't meant to be. Where do you get your trustees from? and could you manage to not only do this but carry on if you didn't have an accountant? thank you


mrsbat- I would love to know more about your group becoming a workers co operatrive?

Are all your staff directors? Are you still a reg charity? Who deals with your money stuff like banking, staff wages and maintaining your accounts?

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I think for me the big difference would be having the same constant trustees. It would be more efficient as everyone who becomes a trustee wants to support the setting as a whole and not just with the odd bit of fundraising and also not having to replace them every two years - as you say would have to choose them carefully, could be tricky to get rid of a trustee if ended with a clash of personalities!!


Ps. I know there are some great committee members out there, but as a committee member under a PLA constitution once their child leaves they have to leave the committee too, this way the right person could be given the option to stay on the board if they are that way inclined!!

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I am also keen to read these comments as we are in the same position - due to loose, chair, treasurer, secretary and 3 further committee - I know the chair is currently composing a letter to say to parents that if some of them don't stand up and come forward to join committee the setting will close.


I am also interested in the workers co-operative - there is definitely 3 of us who would love to run the setting but also would like to know how it works.


Learnt something new as I did not know that committee had to leave after their child leaves - current committee are mainly parents of children who left 3 yrs ago - woops - best sort this out asap.

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Hi, I've gone from committee run to limited company. Like lynned55 I couldn't see the advantage of having trustees. Our committee could stay on indefinitely and weren't parents but didn't want too - all had jobs and other commitments and couldn't give up time for no money or lost interest. There was no-one else suitable and limited company with me as sole director has given me lots of work and responsibility but also full autonomy.

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Anju - were you a charity before you took over? - also were you members of the PLSA - I am very keen to change our set up as committee are all resigning and so far no-one else has stepped forward but it seems to be such a minefield - I don't know where to start.

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Hi Hopeytg,


No we weren't a charity and we had our own constitution which was pretty much the same as PLA. We were (and still are) members of the PLA.


The only really difficult thing for me was negotiating the lease which needed sorting out to formalise arrangements with the new setup. The actual business transfer wasn't too difficult really.


Do ask (PM if you prefer) if you want more information.



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  • 1 month later...

Well we are finally officially a workers co-operative social enterprise.


The process has taken longer than we anticipated but it was like this:


Our early years advisor came out in april/may time I think to go through the RAG with us and when it came to the legal/committee part we realised that even though we have been running for 37 years we didn't have a definitive status (Ofsted describes us in our inspection report as "a non profit making staff run setting")


We have run very efficiently and well without any committee etc since we opened so didn't want to start "answering" to a group of people now.


So the next step was to contact the PLA and a lady came out and went through our options with us, she gave me the contact number for the local social enterprise guild as that seemed the only way we could stay as we are.


Next step was that a man from the guild came out and went though the details with me and my deputys. The main details were that we must have directors (which are myself as supervisor and my two deputys) so essentially the set up is still the same as it always was with me "in charge" and 2 deputys.


The changes that have to happen were minimal and things like, we have to have a formal AGM annually (which I think committee led settings have anyway?) actually at the begining this was the ONLY change we thought we needed.


So the next step was that the lovely guild man went away, drew up a model constitution and governing document (which was really what we cover in our policies anyway) things such as how we will care for children, how we will take on staff, what will happen if the setting closes down - the members of the co-op can't profit from this so we stated what we have always said we would do in that situation which was to donate any equipment, money etc to a children's hospice foundation.


Now it became a bit more complicated because as a social enterprise you have to register as a company with companies house, the guild man (who I'm going to call roger so I don't have to keep writing the guild man lol) anyway roger went to register the name of our pre-school with companies house and it turned out there was already a pre-school with the same village name as ours in another part of the country!! so that was where the nightmare started......bearing in mind all our stationary is personalised with the loga and name, as are all the children's clothes, staff uniform, posters, flyers, signs etc etc etc

This happened during the summer holidays so I made a snap decision and named us soemthing else which was available but since then none of us like the name so we have now changed it to something else we are happy with!!


Myself and roger had numerous email conversations and he came out twice more to go through things with the staff so everyone knew exactly what was going on but essentially most of the paperwork could be done online with him.


Next step was that myself and my deputys had to go to our accountant to be positively identified - something to do with money laundering...... luckily we weren't charged for this. We sent all this paperwork back to Roger who did whatever he needed to do with it lol


Then on 23rd September I had an email to say that we are now officially a limited company!!


Really there wasn't much to it to be honest apart from paperwork - what's another 30 odd pages of paperwork when I do 100's of pages anyway lol


The rules of the co-operative are that ONLY people who work at the setting are eligible to become "members" - so again it just means that we all stay as we were anyway.


However you don't HAVE to become a member but if you don't you have no vote/say/input at staff meetings.


The biggest positive for me apart from being able to run how we were is that liabilities are now limited to £1 for each member whereas before it turned out that I was liable for everything! - nice of the previous supervisor to inform me of that one!


The biggest downfall of all of this is that because we have changed to a company we have to re-register with ofsted - which you may have read about in my post on here in the early hours of friday morning! I'm sure all that will go ok as we are an established setting which is always very popular and we're showing there is a need in the area by the fact we have 57 families currently attending :o


I'm sure I've missed out loads of things so if anyone has any questions please do ask :)



oohh by the way the only costs involved was £117 which covered the company registration fees. The help from Roger was free!!


You can find info on co-operatives here http://www.uk.coop/


and "Roger" can be found here http://www.the-guild.co.uk/

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I knew I'd forget something! I found an excellent person online who has created our new logo with the new name on, it was £25 and it is fantastic! If anyone is looking for one let me know and I will pm you his email address


He's not a friend or anything but I was very impressed with his work :)

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  • 3 months later...
Hi Mrs Bat

Fantastic info, just what I was looking for, can I ask are you also a registered charity? If so did this involve any extra paperwork?

Many thanks

Hi there, No we're not a charity :o

We are still running as our previous group as the new company hasn't been registered with ofsted yet (not because of us but because the process is lengthy) but we are expecting our certificate imminently as we've paid the reg fee! lol

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we went down the route of disolving the playgroup, staff were made redundent but some I re-employed all equipment was sold (to me at a very good rate). I am the new owner running it privately. I rent the building off the school which is the same as before. Only difference is that only I am financially liable but equally all profits (not much) are mine. Had to re register with ofsted but thats it really. We did have to change the name but I just added pre-school


All staff say so much better not having to go through a committee for everything (no offence to committees) there are some very good ones.


I think things have changed so much now playgroups are a business and need to be run like one. Parents do not have as much time these days to be helping and committing to the tasks involved.


hope you make the right decision


all the best



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