Major update to Community Shares Standard Mark planned as quality scheme reaches milestone

12th Sep 2018

The 100th Community Shares Standard Mark has been awarded to Suffolk-based charity Eden-Rose, as the Community Shares Unit (CSU) plans major update to continue to improve the voluntary quality scheme. 

Eden-Rose Community Limited became the hundredth organisation to receive the Community Shares Standard Mark, for its forthcoming share offer to raise investment from its community to support its mission in using woodlands and the natural environment as means to provide support to children and adults with life-limiting illnesses such as Cancer.

Eden Rose’s share offer follows numerous other share offers that have been awarded the voluntary best practice scheme since it launched three years ago by the CSU – an established community shares support programme delivered by Co-operatives UK and Locality.

Based on our learning to date, major changes are planned to the nature of the Mark, the assessment processes for awarding of the Mark, and the responsibilities of societies adopting the Mark. These proposed changes come as part of longer-term efforts to obtain ISO accreditation for the Community Shares Standard Mark.  These changes include:

  • The development of eight standards underpinning community shares
  • An assessment process that focuses on the offer document, with other documents as reference sources only. 
  • Plans to negotiate new arrangements with sponsoring bodies to pre-approve model rules as being Standard Mark compliant, including provisions to address amendments to model rules.
  • The introduction of evidence-based assessment criteria for the Standard Mark
  • New Community Shares Standard Mark committments and code of practice signed by participating societies

These changes have been developed in consultation with community shares practitioners over the summer, The CSU has now produced a number of proposed draft documents that would form the basis of v3 of the Community Shares Standard Mark for wider comment. Any feedback on the documents can be submitted electronically to us here by Friday 5th October 2018.  This consultation round is the final stage of the design work ahead of moving to the new version by the end of 2018. 

The Community Shares Standard Mark, launched in 2015, was developed by the Community Shares Unit, run by Co‑operatives UK and Locality, with early support from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to certify offers that meet national standards of good practice. More information on the current version of the Standard Mark can be found here.