All about shared community ownership under the Community Energy Strategy's voluntary protocol
In England: Community Energy England
In Scotland: Local Energy Scotland
Guide to setting up community groups
As a society: Co-operatives UK
As a company or partnership:
As a Community Interest Company: also
As a Charity:
There is no difference to incorporating a community enterprise for a shared ownership project than for a stand-alone community project. Local Energy Scotland's guide provides a useful overview.
This page gives a quick summary of the incorporation options. For more help, contact the organisations listed on the right or one or more of these intermediaries.
The main options for the types of organisation you might want to incorporate as are:
These social enterprises (which used to be called Industrial Provident Societies) are registered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Their purpose (defined in their Rules) must be more than just to make a financial return to their investors.
In the case of Community Benefit Societies this social purpose benefits a defined community; in the case of a Co-operative, it benefits mainly the members of the Society.
Societies have some concessions, compared to companies, when it comes to raising investment from the public. Both types used to eligible for tax relief, but this is changing.
These are registered at Companies House and are mainly undertaken for the profit of the investors or partners. For this reason they are rarely used for community energy projects, except for one specific form:
A CIC is a special type of limited company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders. It needs to be approved additionally by the community interest company regulator.
You can incorporate as a charity only if your purposes fit entirely within the definition of ‘charitable purposes for the public benefit’. These organisation are registered by the Charity Commission.