CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

Briefing document sent ahead of BIS roundtable meeting with Minister Ed Davey

Dear Mr Davey

Ive just put together a brief document about CIC before meeting this Thursday, Id hope to discuss any areas of interest in more detail in due course. Im positive it sits in the solutions toolkit and hope we can add to the wider debate.

CIC could and should be as big as the Co-operative movement (35 billion), the question is how long will it take? Google is only ten years old. At macro and micro levels, it provides for opportunity and innovation. Its utility is scaleable, and replicable. Its already happening, from economic regeneration projects, to one man bands teaching kids to learn through play, we're popping up everywhere. The legislation is pretty much where it needs to be, the landscape needs a lot of work. It can be used to structure uniform, standard pathways for investors. It offers a new interaction between customer and company,and could tap into the changing investment and consumer trends. It allows for new ways for local authority assets to be transferred to the community within an asset lock.

There's a more formal statement from us below, but personally im a little perplexed as to why so little has been done on maturing the agenda. Ive been engaged with CIC legislation from day one, and its unfortunately evident it has been neglected by central support structures. I'm happy to have a conversation about that but don't want it to detract from the issues at hand.

A main topic I hope to receive support for is developing CIC Bonds, there's no resistance in accepting it as a billion pound market, but little in the way of getting the ball moving. It might involve being more creative than getting Govt to commit large pots (which is fine by the way!),but its easily done. The most successful model of social investment is the lottery, getting a little from a lot. CIC could use the same philosophy to attract investment into bonds......the recent social impact pilots show how it works in public spending arenas, this could be widened out to offer a similar proposal to community minded individuals (and corporates, slightly different tax structure and messaging, but i hope you get the point). I believe it can fill some of space left by central funding reductions, moreover, it allows all the self determination of communities and individuals to make decisions for themselves.

It adds a lot of potential for innovation in existing third sector organisations, and is already having a role in some of the externalisation of NHS contracting that's happening. I hope there is some support from your office for what we're trying to do, im completely and unashamedly biased but its a pretty skilled community we've already got together and I hope we can be of use. Caveat - all work contributed so far has mainly been pro-bono and good-will, at the moment we can only add fuel to the fire but moving forward we hope to become more relevant.

The impetus for the Association has come from CICs wanting a way to directly engage in the agenda, from a defined CIC perspective. From general awareness and communication issues thru to technical matters such as improving capital inflows into the sector, distinct challenges and opportunities are becoming apparent.

Our mission is to plant a flag in the ground, around which the CIC community can build the infrastructure needed to help us achieve that vision. We aim to be a useful resource to our members, and a positive conduit in the further development of all things CIC.

Our initial strategy is to develop primarily as an online network, which will connect the CIC Community and relevant stakeholders, allowing practitioners to contribute to the development of the legislation as a whole within the social enterprise sector, and to forward solutions to policymakers. We also aim to nurture local CIC groups and interact regionally with the existing social enterprise support structure.

CIC Association CIC believe the community interest company legislation (CIC) is an evolution. A legislation, brand and structure that will change the way people do business in the UK. Being a CIC presents unique opportunities and challenges, from brand awareness to funding issues. CIC Association wants to help ensure those opportunities are fully realised and the challenges met

Connecting the CIC community will allow us to communicate to and receive info from all CICs, to build a single online marketplace from which to trade, attract investors, raise awareness levels and disseminate information and best practice. We will also be able to deliver knowledge resources, create a structured PR strategy and reduce the wide ranging innocent mis-representation of the legislation

Although comparatively small as a group, CICs are already operating across the spectrum of sectors, at local, regional and national levels, and it makes sense to have a central point from which to co-operate and tackle shared objectives.

We have a strong and multi skilled community forming from across the country, and we’re already contributing to the wider social enterprise movement. By working together we should be able to tap into the wealth of expertise that’s already there and create the mass needed to accelerate the agenda.

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Comment by Graeme Perks on September 16, 2010 at 10:01
John just picked this up - I think we have to ensure the public sector culture does not dominate - we need ethical business values to dominate and from our exeperiences as a CIC the public sector seem to gloss over things when they go wrong - in th ereal world that is when you learn the most - positive critism should be encouraged

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