CIC Association

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lots of CICs but what are they doing?

so - this may (hopefully) provoke some discussion: a posting on a LinkedIn group recently said that of the 5000+ registered CICs, only 1% were co-operatives and the majority are 'inactive' (not trading) which was based on the authors looking up their records at Companies House.

if this is the case, then this surely poses an urgent question for the Association - namely what's going on if people are incorporating as CICs but then not actually doing anything? I know that the CIC regulator has published research on CICs' motivations and experiences which may shed some light on this, but even so...?

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Comment by John Mulkerrin on July 13, 2010 at 12:08
Hi Adrian
fair play to Bob for doing a small sample, but I wouldnt quote his figures as gospel as they'll give the wrong impression to members.

Still up for taking the Impact reporting/ improving content discussions forward, Heidi is moving on with plans to get some of that done and It could work very well if we arrange some sort of collaboration. Bringing in some more co-operative skills should will help ensure whatever is developed is rounded, which currently isnt the case. We could also benefit from any expertise in bid writing to foundations, which from the sounds of it is an area your strong in.

Comment by John Mulkerrin on July 12, 2010 at 17:42
Hi Adrian
Have joined the group, but couldnt find the thread, could you give me the url?
Our own questionnaire should provide a much better picture this year, the Regulator is hoping to put out a stakeholder questionnaire which we may well dovetail into, so fingers crossed we'll have good data before the year is out.
Comment by Adrian Ashton on July 12, 2010 at 17:15
hi John,

well, the figures on inactives, etc were from a posting to the UK Society for Co-operative Studies group on LinkedIn -

and the links to all the research that the CIC regulator undertakes and publishes annually on the CIC sector in terms of numbers, transitions, etc can be found at:
Comment by John Mulkerrin on July 12, 2010 at 16:14
please send the link to that Adrian, id be interested in looking at what they've done as there is very little research so far. The fact it says there have been 5000 incorporated suggests it may not be very relevant.
It is an interesting point, my own feel on this is that there is definitely some truth in the general statement, but I think this will be steadily changing over time. For example there's now a £50 million pound CIC, and we have a number of members who employ 100+ people.
A lot of CICs are being incorporated by first time entrepreneurs, and most have financial literacy/experience issues. This seems to be backed up by the fact that whilst activity seems to be building slowly roughly 95% of incorporated CICs are still in existence, (4102 have been created, with 3895 in existence, as of June 2010) The individuals tend to know all about the social impact they want the CIC to deal with but have to build the business skills as they go, which will mean a longer start up period. Again just a personal feel but a lot of CICs havent taken on much debt so can take a little longer getting up and running, whilst inexperienced in many ways I think I can say CICs are a pragmatic bunch!
There's also a lot of CICs that are being incorporated to take on activity in partnership with a parent organisation (charity, local authority) so these CICs are put in a holding process until the wider complexities of their structure are put in place.( the PCT CICs are a good example. Delays in procurement processes also add to this, but this type of thing is also reflected in charity/co-op activity as well so it doesnt seem too unusual.
Re only 1% being co-operatives, I dont really have a handle on if this is accurate but if it is, it would suggest some collaborative work is urgently needed, thats way too low for what it should be, or will be. Very few people know what a CIC s, most of them dont know what a co-operative CIC is........awareness issue anyone!!!!!


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