We're a charity
Network Homes is a charitable Registered Society and people often ask what this means.
In simple terms, under English law a charity is any organisation that does charitable acts for the benefit of the public. Registration with the Charity Commission does not make an organisation a charity, it only confirms its charitable status.
Certain types of charity are not required to register with the Charity Commission, including charitable Registered Societies like Network Homes.
Our constitution (Rule Book)
Like all Registered Societies Network Homes has a Rule Book. This is our ‘constitution’. The Rules set out our internal relationships and relations with the outside world.
We’ve adopted what’s known as "model rules" which have been created by the National Housing Federation in conjunction with the Social Housing Regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority. Breaching the Rules would be outside Network’s permitted constitution or mean that Network is acting beyond its powers.
Alongside our general business workings, the Rules also define our charitable purpose.
Rule A2 reads:
- A2 The association is formed for the benefit of the community. Its objects shall be to carry on for the benefit of the community:
- A2.1 the business of providing and managing housing and social housing and providing assistance to help house people and associated facilities and amenities or services for poor people or for the relief of aged, disabled, (whether physically or mentally) or chronically sick people.
- A2.2 any other charitable object that can be carried out from time to time by a Registered Society registered as a provider of social housing with the Regulator
Delivering on our purpose
While the language may feel a bit dated, the words “for poor people or for the relief of aged, disabled, (whether physically or mentally) or chronically sick people" fall within the descriptions listed in the Charities Act under which all charitable purposes must fall. It also describes the people we exist to help as a provider of social housing.
As a charity we must comply with charity and other applicable charitable law, and this restricts the activities we can undertake. We are not able to do things which fall outside our charitable purpose. Put simply, as a provider of social housing our purpose as a charity is to house people who are unable to afford a home of their own rather than people who are able to buy a suitable home on the open market.