The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) has launched new guidelines on charity mergers. The guidelines stress the importance of garnering stakeholder buy-in and being open about the process – without sacrificing confidentiality.
Trustees ‘should avoid being overly secretive’ and should adopt a ‘realistic approach to informing staff on developments’.
It suggests that change is best implemented a little at a time: ‘Any resistance is likely to be better contained by incremental change as opposed to the Big Bang approach.’
Louise Thomson, head of not-for-profit policy at ICSA, said: ‘Communicating a merger effectively is particularly important in the not-for-profit sector because staff and supporters are often emotionally attached to the causes.’
She added: ‘It is important to get staff on side. When deciding to go public with information, you need to make sure larger donors are assured that a merger will not affect the standard of the services you’re providing.’
The Charity Commission is expecting to set up a new register of mergers by the end of the year, which will simplify the asset-transfer process. ICSA provides guidance on governance and regulatory issues in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.