Shared Assets is now a Community Interest Company.
Mark Walton explains why, and what’s changed …
You may notice a slight change in how we describe ourselves here at Shared Assets. After seven years operating as a Shared Assets Ltd, a company limited by guarantee, we have now transformed ourselves into Shared Assets CIC, a Community Interest Company, still limited by guarantee.
So apart from seeing our name as Shared Assets CIC in the future, what’s changed?
One of the main differences is that we have clearly defined who we exist to benefit, namely:
- Those people and organisations across the UK currently responsible for the use or management of land in ways that provide shared social, environmental and economic benefits, and those who seek to do so in the future
Our other ‘objects’ are to carry on activities which:
- Promote the role of not-for-private-profit organisations in delivering sustainable urban and rural regeneration through the ownership and management of land and environmental assets such as woodlands, waterways and green spaces
- Support the community utilisation of land and environmental assets which are in community, public, private or charitable ownership
- Carry out research to develop and support a knowledge and evidence base that supports practitioners, landowners and policy makers to maximise common good land use, and
- Provide access to environmental assets and resources which can be used by communities to deliver sustainable development which meets their economic, social and environmental needs
We will now be required to report annually on how we are meeting these objectives and the needs of our community, and how we engage with them. By doing so we aim to be more accountable to the people and organisations managing land for the common good.
Becoming a CIC also ‘locks in’ our not-for-private-profit status, including an ‘asset lock’ written into our Articles of Association. The asset lock is a key part of CIC legislation. It ensures that the assets of the CIC (including any profits or other surpluses generated by its activities) are used for the benefit of the community it is established to serve. Any transfer of assets must satisfy certain requirements, namely:
- It is made for full consideration (i.e. at market value), so that the CIC retains the value of the assets transferred
- It is made to another asset locked body which is specified in the CIC’s articles of association
- It is made to another asset locked body with the consent of the Regulator, or
- It is otherwise made for the benefit of the community.
In our case the asset locked body we have specified to receive any assets in the event that we wind up the company are our friends at The National Community Land Trust Network, a charity that is also working on strategic land issues.
To the outside world not a lot will change besides seeing the letters CIC after our name, but we are excited by this next step in the development of the organisation. It ensures that the way we work aligns with our values and makes us more accountable to our beneficiaries, now and in the future.