Community Shares Mark introduced at CSU birthday celebration

11th Nov 2014

The Community Shares Unit celebrated its 2nd birthday last month and used the occasion to introduce its forthcoming Community Shares Mark.

The Mark is to be launched officially in Spring 2015, when societies will be able to receive the compliance mark for their share offer document, demonstrating that it complies with the guidance contained in the Community Shares Handbook. The CSU has been developing the scheme under the supervision of a technical committee composed of representatives from Department of Communities and Local Government, Financial Conduct Authority, Treasury, the Charity Commission and an independent legal adviser, which will continue to oversee the initiative.

Camilla Sheldon, Deputy Director of Community Rights at DCLG, announced the introduction of the Mark to attendees, and also celebrated the efforts of the first group of practitioners who are being trained and licensed by the CSU to deliver the compliance scheme ahead of its launch next year.

Licensed practitioners will be responsible for assessing the offer, using CSU criteria to review all aspects of the society’s offer including the  business plan, governing document, offer document and community engagement plan

The FCA also welcome the introduction of the Mark, recognising its work with the CSU on developing best practice guidance for community shares through the technical committee.

The CSU is now encouraging societies and practitioners to get involved in the Mark ahead of next year’s formal launch, specifically:

  • Societies are already being offered the benefits of the review process by hosting their share offer on the CSU's community shares platform Microgenius. 
  • The CSU is also now offering any practitioner the opportunity to participate in this initiative ahead of its formal launch in Spring 2015.
  • The CSU has now published an overview of the Community Shares Mark, and released a series of draft materials which are being used for the current training and licensing programme, and will form the basis of the scheme next year.