The Government has published new guidance advising Community Interest Companies (CICs) on how to meet statutory guidelines while protecting the health and welfare of workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The guidance comes after a number of CICs raised concerns about the business and community impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, such as the ability to file accounts and provide public benefit.
A CIC is a form of social enterprise with a social, charitable or community-based objective. To launch a CIC, shareholders must sign and file a community interest statement (setting out the organisation’s aims), an asset lock (promising to only use assets for social objectives), and a constitution.
However, due to strict social distancing measures in force across the UK, paper processing may be slower than usual, or almost impossible. As a result, the Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies has now launched an online filing service where directors can incorporate a CIC, file accounts, and file a confirmation statement.
The regulator has also guided on what actions CICs should take if they are unable to provide public benefit during this time.
“The Regulator recognises that some CICs will have a period of time where they may be unable to provide normal services and meet the community benefit that they were set up to serve,” the office says.
“This can be reported in the Annual CIC report, filed with CIC Accounts, to explain any change in the delivery of the community interest company.”
CICs unable to file accounts, meanwhile, may be eligible to apply for an extension to their filing deadline.
“Please note, CICs have to apply for the 3-month extension to be granted, before the date they are due. If an extension is agreed by Companies House, the new account filing date will also apply to the CIC Annual Report as both documents – together with a £15 fee – are filed and placed on the Public Register at the same time”, states the guidance.
To view the latest coronavirus guidance, please click here.
Do these changes affect your organisation? For help and advice, please get in touch with our expert social enterprise accounting team today.