Community Shares Standard Mark
What is the Community Shares Standard Mark?
The Community Shares Standard Mark is awarded to offers that meet national standards of good practice. It is overseen by the Community Shares Unit. These standards ensure that:
The offer document and application form are easy to understand
Potential investors are provided with all the facts they need to make an informed decision
The facts are supported by the annual accounts and/or business plan for the society
Nothing in the documents is purposefully incorrect, confusing or misleading
Societies promoting the public sale of community shares (withdrawable, non-transferable share capital) are exempt from financial promotions regulations but are still subject to general law. In the absence of statutory regulation it is difficult for societies to know precisely what is expected of them, or to demonstrate that they are engaged in good practice.
The Standard Mark fills this gap by setting standards of good practice. It is a voluntary form of self-regulation, based on an independent assessment by a licensed practitioner. This assessment acts as a final check on the quality of a community share offer before its public launch.
Why is the Standard Mark important?
The Standard Mark is designed to promote public confidence in community shares. It also provides confidence to societies and their management committees, to commercial lenders, social investment financial intermediaries and public funding agencies. Since it launched in 2015, more than 242 Standard Marks have been awarded to community share offers.
All groups receiving support from the Booster Fund are expected to engage with the Standard Mark assessment process and to be awarded the Community Shares Standard Mark for their community share offer.
Applicants are expected to engage with community shares licensed practitioners to undertake the Standard Mark assessment.
The Community Shares Unit maintains a Practitioner Directory of Licensed and Registered practitioners capable of awarding the Standard Mark and providing business support to community groups and societies planning to run a community share offer. Read more about the Community Shares Standard Mark.