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Online incorporation of Community Interest Companies

A Community Interest Company (CIC) is a limited company, with special additional features, created for the use of people who want to conduct a business or other activity for community benefit, and not purely for private advantage.

The Third Sector, made up of social enterprises and community groups among others, is growing fast – 2,844 new CICs were approved in 2017/18. A CIC is a social enterprise, set up to operate as a limited company, and limited either by shares or by guarantee - and the process of setting up a CIC has up to March 2019 required a paper submission of the relevant documents: 

  • Form IN01, the incorporation of a limited Company 
  • Form CIC36 – Community Interest Statement 
  • Memorandum of Association 
  • Articles of Association 

However, since 11th March 2019, incorporation online has been available, bringing CIC incorporation in line with the Limited Company formation on the Companies House website – which is now easier than it has ever been. The online process still requires that a CIC36, your Community Interest Statement, and a copy of your chosen Articles of Association, be completed – the CIC36 needs a “wet” signature, and both documents have to be saved in .pdf format, to be uploaded to the Companies House website.  

At present there is a limit of 5 to the number of officers of the Company that the system can process, so if you have, for example, 6 directors you will have to use the old, paper system. The cost of online incorporation of a CIC is £27, compared with £35 for the paper version.  

Check the links below to see which of the Articles suit your purpose best, to check through the guidelines or to view a detailed explanation of the online registration process on a YouTube video of the webinar published by the Office of the CIC regulator. 

Payment for the incorporation is made at the end of the process using either a bank card or PayPal. Payment for the paper process can only be made by cheque made payable to Companies House enclosed with the application. 

Webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n-gn9PIogY&t=12s 

Model Constitutions: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-interest-companies-constitutions 
 
Guides and information: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-interest-companies-business-activities/cic-business-activities-forms-and-step-by-step-guidelines 

Mick Dobson

Business Advisor and Incubator Manager
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