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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Model constitutions from SCVO

About our model constitutions

  • Our model constitutions are here to give you a starting point – you’ll need to adapt them to suit your own organisation and, if necessary, get some advice to make sure they meet all your legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Your constitution is an important document – it is worth taking the time to work through the various points systematically, and to discuss and agree what is best for your organisation.  
  • To help you through this process, you can review the accompanying guidance notes for each model for further guidance on particular clauses. In addition, each model  has optional additional clauses covering the most common “optional extras”.
  • When applying to OSCR for charitable status you need, as a minimum, to have filled in the blanks in certain sections of our models (and to have either deleted or retained optional clauses – removing the square brackets and comments), so that the constitution is complete. For example, OSCR have to know what your charitable objectives are – this section cannot be left blank. We have highlighted these particular sections in yellow which OCSR need to be able to process an application for charitable status but, beyond that, it is important that you review the model constitution as a whole, and make adjustments as appropriate, to ensure that it reflects the governance features that you feel are most appropriate for your organisation.

Community right to buy and community asset transfer

If you are setting up an organisation for community right to buy or community asset transfer, or would like to be eligible to apply to the Scottish Land Fund, the SCVO model constitutions do not contain some of the essential clauses you will need. The Community Land Team at Scottish Government can help, by providing guidance and model templates approved by OSCR. You can contact the team by emailing

For advice about community asset transfers you can also contact the Community Ownership Support Service provided by Development Trusts Association Scotland.

Using our model constitutions

  • Our templates are in Word documents, click on the link and it’ll download. Make sure you save it somewhere you can find it as this is an important document for your organisation.
  • Where you see text in square brackets [LIKE THIS] it means you need to change it – to your own organisation’s name, contact details, or other agreed clauses. We have included the text ‘MUST DO’ beside any clauses which are legal requirements and therefore should not be changed. The clause-by-clause guidance will give a further explanation about these clauses and why they need to be there.
  • You should insert your own organisation name, logo and branding - once you have formally adopted your constitution these are the rules and regulations for your organisation.
  • Make sure you keep the document somewhere it can be accessed by anyone who might need it and remember that you could potentially be asked to share them with members of the public.

Terms and conditions

These model constitutions (and the accompanying additional clauses and guidance) have been prepared by Burness Paull LLP (working with Stephen Phillips, a former partner of the firm) on a nil-fee basis, for SCVO as a free resource to support the Scottish charity sector, and those wishing to set up new charities in Scotland. It is the responsibility of those using the model constitutions to determine what type of legal entity – and what key features of the governance arrangements - are most appropriate for them; and to tailor the relevant model constitution (and bolt-on clauses, where applicable) accordingly.

Should you require any guidance we recommend that you seek legal advice. Burness Paull, Stephen Phillips, and SCVO do not owe any duty of care to users of the materials; and in particular (but without limiting that general exclusion of liability) they will not be liable for any adverse consequences arising from any error, omission or other defect in the model constitutions, bolt-on clauses or guidance.

Last modified on 18 August 2023
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