Trans Pride Manchester is registered as a community interest company (CIC). This is a specific legal entity for non-profits that provides protection for the volunteers and organisers and gives a recognised entity within which to do business.
Trans Pride Manchester is completely volunteer run, and there are no paid positions. Some of the volunteers are also directors of the CIC, which gives them legal responsibilities to ensure that the CIC is not in breach of any legal obligation – the liabilities of these directors is limited to £1. These are Chris Northwood, Daira Hopwood, Dara Addams and Hannah Pittman. We operate in a flat structure with consensus from activists, however the Directors are ultimately responsible for the running of the CIC and the legal responsibilities of this. Therefore, although decisions in general are made by consensus, a quorum of directors must therefore approve any financial spend or anything that could leave the Pride open to liability. The Directors also are responsible for ensuring any legal paperwork (confirmation filings, and tax returns) are completed.
There is a downside of being registered as a CIC. The first is that corporation tax is due on any “profits”, although we are a non-profit, any money which we raise in addition to the costs of putting on the event is subject to being taxed. The second is that there are legal limitations on being a CIC and the level of political activity you can undertake. The relevant section of legislation is Part 2 of The Community Interest Company Regulations 2005, which states
3.—(1) For the purposes of the community interest test the following activities are to be treated as not being activities which a reasonable person might consider are activities carried on for the benefit of the community:
(a) the promotion of, or the opposition to, changes in—
(i) any law applicable in Great Britain or elsewhere; or
(ii) the policy adopted by any governmental or public authority in relation to any matter;
(b) the promotion of, or the opposition (including the promotion of changes) to, the policy which any governmental or public authority proposes to adopt in relation to any matter; and
(c) activities which can reasonably be regarded as intended or likely to—
(i) provide or affect support (whether financial or otherwise) for a political party or political campaigning organisation; or
(ii) influence voters in relation to any election or referendum.
(2) But activities of the descriptions prescribed in paragraph (1) are to be treated as being activities which a reasonable person might consider are activities carried on for the benefit of the community if—
(a) they can reasonably be regarded as incidental to other activities, which a reasonable person might consider are being carried on for the benefit the community; and
(b) those other activities cannot reasonably be regarded as incidental to activities of any of the descriptions prescribed in paragraph (1).
We have intepreted this as meaning we can not campaign or make a formal statement on any campaign which seeks to change law, or on any particular political party. However, as Pride is inherently a protest, any statement about a law or campaign to change a law or political party, which happens at Pride is incidental to our main activity of putting on a Pride event for the trans community. But as a body, Trans Pride Manchester itself can not take a formal position on either any political party, or any law, or undertake an event where that is the focus of the event.