New law recognises co-ops and community benefit societies, does away with IPS

For many this will be a rather arcane debate; others will revel in it. Co-operative law seems to get people that way.

Third Sector Online carries a story today about the passage into law of the  Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.

The new law recognises co-operatives and community benefit societies in law, while doing away with the old umbrella term (which was little understood) of Industrial & Provident Society.

According to some — including our own David Alcock at Anthony Collins Solicitors — this is a good thing and clarifies usage of these historic legal forms.

Also in favour is James Wright, policy manager at Co-operatives UK, who is quoted as saying: “This is the first time cooperatives appear in a coherent legal form, so it will make it easier for people to understand what they are. When social entrepreneurs are looking to set something up, the co-operative option is now more prominent; it’s not a case of ‘what the hell is this IPS thing?'”

Read more in Third Sector Online here.

UPDATE: Our dear friend Simon Lee dropped me an email to say: “It probably won’t make much of a difference to most readers but, technically, the new Act is ‘in between’ at present. The text of it has all been agreed and gone through the relevant process for it to become law but it is not in force till 1st August this year – in that sense, people still have another 3 weeks or so to keep talking about IPS if they want to!”

Birmingham UK. Freelance research, evaluation and policy consultant specialising in social enterprise and the third sector. I maintain the BSSEC blog and website

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