3.2.1 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
  • You are provided with all the facts you 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 withdrawable 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 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.

The 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 Summer 2015, over 70 Standard Marks have been awarded to community share offers. 

Visit communityshares.org.uk for more information. 

If you have any questions on the content included within the guidance, please contact the team.