The Community Shares Unit (CSU) trains and licenses Community Shares Practitioners award the Community Shares Standard Mark on their behalf.

The Standard Mark is awarded to community share offers that meet the CSU’s standards of good practice as set out in the Community Shares Handbook.

Becoming a Community Shares Practitioner

Community Shares Practitioners are assessed and accredited at two levels. 

Registered practitioners are deemed competent to provide community shares advice, guidance and mentoring to new and established community enterprises.

Licensed practitioners are additionally accredited to conduct Community Shares Standard Mark assessments on behalf of the CSU.

We are currently running our 2019 Programme of practitioner training and will be releasing details of a 2020 programme in the new year. Please contact us on [email protected] to register your interest in future training. 

Practitioner Training Programme Pathways

Training workshops only

  • The programme is aimed at people who provide business and funding support in the social, community and voluntary sectors or who are involved in running co-operative or community enterprises themselves. However, it assumes no prior knowledge or experience of community shares.
  • Following the programme, participants have the option of continuing their development to be accredited as either Registered or Licenced community shares practitioners.

Registered Practitioner

  • Able to demonstrate an understanding of community shares standards by:
    • Completing all five training programme workshops
    • One satisfactory Standard Mark assessment (peer review)
  • Featured on the community shares practitioner directory as a registered practitioner and confident in advising community groups on share offers.
  • Access to community shares practitioner peer support group with monthly online meet-ups.
  • Unable to award the Community Shares Standard Mark on behalf of the CSU.

Licensed Practitioner

  • Able to demonstrate an understanding of community shares standards by:
    • Completing all five training programme workshops
    • Assessment of client case study assignment
    • Three satisfactory Standard Mark assessments, at least one as lead reviewer
  • Featured on the community shares practitioner directory as a licensed practitioner and experienced in advising groups on share offers.
  • Access to community shares practitioner peer support group with monthly online meet-ups.
  • Able to award the Community Shares Standard Mark on behalf of the CSU.

To become a registered practitioner, you must successfully complete a peer review of a community share offer, using the Standard Mark assessment framework.

To become a licensed practitioner, you must successfully complete a community shares client assignment, by providing support to a society developing a share offer, culminating in the assessment and award of the Standard Mark. Your work will be supervised by the CSU, who will be responsible for the final assessment and award of the Standard Mark. You are also required to write a case study of your work with the society, which will be assessed by the CSU. As a newly licensed practitioner, you must then complete a probationary period, successfully completing three further assessments, before you are able to award the Standard Mark yourself.

Following this: 

  • The CSU will periodically spot-check Standard Mark assessments to ensure that practitioner standards remain high. 
  • The practitioner must receive a signed ‘Code of Practice for Societies’ before they award the Standard Mark and they must send a copy of this to the CSU.
  • Once licensed, the practitioner should inform the CSU of all Standard Marks that they award.

Licensed practitioners undergo training and assessment as Standard Mark assessors, and are required to adopt ethical principles and a code of practice, enclosed within the Standard Mark Information Pack. Licensed practitioners may be commissioned to assess the share offer of a society, using assessment templates and methodologies developed by the CSU.

The CSU is responsible for vetting the Standard Mark assessments made by licensed practitioners. It does this using a variety of techniques, including routine monitoring of awards, spot checks, peer review comparisons of share offers and by giving the public the right to make queries and complaints about share offers bearing the Mark. The CSU retains the right to remove the Standard Mark from offers that do not meet its standards, subject to a negotiated review of the offer. It also retains the right to remove the licence of practitioners who breach the following ethical principles and code of practice.