What I'm saying is Geoff, that the Charity and the Company are the same thing, same annual report, same set of accounts and not big business, sometimes tiny, tiny business - well not a business at all because these orgs are not for profit.
There is no excuse not to act within the laws on either, but in small groups with sparse activities, the returns are often done several months in arrears, but still within the law. (I've just done one of ours - Accounts to the end of March, (they took me to July to finalise and then a couple of months to remember find someone to audit them) AGM in Early November, returns done this last week. Takes me that long to get new trustees details etc. but I got them in 'early' because I had to the end of January to do it)
It's hard to let it go past the 'send in by' date because if the CC and CH have your address, you get a letter or an email, however if eithers info has not been updated or there has been a change since AGM's the chances are the returns notices go to the person named and if they have resigned, unless they are on the ball and feeling co-operative (and still alive!), it's gone and lost forever, some simply say 'serve' 'em right and stick them in the bin, so the new person doesn't know. If someone takes on the job but doesn't know that these things have to be done, well, it takes a while for the light to dawn.
Are you saying that Woody should know about company law etc, because he already has some experience of it?
To be honest, I think that org doesn't need to be a charity or company, it's balances are so little, and probably raised by their own fundraising (Membership fees, and events etc. as apposed to grant aid) , if they were starting up now I think they would not get charity number status. They could probably function very well, with a good constitution, as a not for profit group, more or less answerable only to their member within whose group they would raise the funds. The Membership then police the functioning of the group - although that's how most charities are supposed to function. i.e. keep an eye on the treasurer to keep an eye on the money flow and have a responsibility to turn up at AGM's etc, but hardly ever do. If a group is not well run it's as much the fault of the member as anyone else. If someone has walked out of an AGM disgruntled, then they are as much at fault as them they were disgruntled at, either that or maybe no one agreed with them??
I've seen some rum old AGM's I can tell you!
However, not being a company provides no financial protection to the trustees. Not that forgetting to do the returns would stand them in good stead no if there was an investigation, having said that it looks like that it is now up to date.
It's recognised that the two orgs/one org thing is confusing and that's why the Charity Com and Companies House have been working on getting one registration that covers the two, not only that it saves the org money because they don't have to prepare the two (but the same) returns, it will save money too, because Companies House requires a chartered accountant (very expensive) to sign off accounts, but the charity commission doesn't, under a certain amount. Any NEW group starting now can apply to be one of these orgs. I fancy that a lot of orgs that are the two things at present will be go over to the new type of org.
I've prepared a beautiful annul report and set of accounts for our charity return only to find they don't flipping want it because it's under £10k. All they want is the income total and expenditure total, which really wouldn't show you how much we actually have in the bank - we could (but don't) have millions in there unspent.
At the end of the day if Trustees/board members don't show a duty of care, they are financially fully liable for all their doings. The important words here are 'Duty of Care'. And that goes for any trustee that has resigned for several years. Good 'en' it, can't get away with anything these days. Well not if you are a volunteer anyway.