On the frustrations of incorporating a new coop

Four years or so back I undertook myself the legal incorporation of a new member-run community organisation (a local development trust), established under the Companies Act as a charitable company limited by guarantee.  The process was a doddle and pretty well cost-free.  We were able to use model rules provided by the Charity Commission, which we amended to meet our needs.

Now I am trying to incorporate a new charitable community benefit society (a local community land trust I’m involved in) under what was the old Industrial & Provident Societies Act and is now the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act.  It is a very much complex, costly and lengthy process, despite the best efforts of various people to speed things along.  A doddle?  Absolutely not.

I’m afraid one reason for this is that Co-operatives UK obtains a useful income stream from incorporations of new cooperatives and community benefit societies undertaken using its model rules (as most are).  This is a practice it inherited from the old Industrial Common Ownership Movement, and ICOM’s reliance on income from incorporations was in my opinion highly regrettable.  I am sympathetic to Co-operatives UK’s funding difficulties, but ultimately this has to change.  We need equality in Britain between Companies Act and Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act incorporations.

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One thought on “On the frustrations of incorporating a new coop

  1. Hi Andrew
    Just to explain the process for registering societies, can be undertaken a sponsoring body of which there are around 20 of which Co-operatives UK is one or direct with the FCA. Registration is generally cheaper and quicker through sponsoring bodies, Co-operatives UK have actually been subsidizing registrations for years. And our new fee structure allows for registration based on advice required rather than a standard fee. The majority pay the lower rate. So to say the process cost is related to Co-operatives UK having to earn money, I’m afraid is misinformed.
    Helen

    Reply

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