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As an independent statutory office-holder, the Regulator of CICs adopts the systems and controls of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).
The Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004 (‘the CAICE Act’) Act requires the Regulator to discharge the Regulator’s functions in accordance with good regulatory practice.
The Regulator must, in particular, have regard to:
- the likely impact of the Regulator’s actions on those affected
- the results of consultation with stakeholders
- the efficient and economic use of her resources
Much of the Regulator’s time is spent considering the registration, or conversion, documents for new CICs referred to the Regulator, by the Registrar of Companies, to decide whether the companies concerned are eligible to become CICs. The Regulator’s decision will be based on examination of the community interest statement, the registration documents such as the application form, Articles of Association and the appropriate resolutions in the case of a conversion. It is for the Regulator to ensure that the purposes of the company and its constitution comply with the CAICE Act and the Regulations and in particular to decide whether, in the Regulator’s view, it satisfies the community interest test (see Chapters 4, 5 and 6).
The Regulator sees the Regulator’s task as facilitating the formation of CICs. The Regulator will not take a bureaucratic approach and will through the Regulator’s office try to resolve any problems informally by e-mail, letter or telephone and is prepared to consider additional material submitted by letter. Provision of material by e-mail or letter cannot be a substitute for the completion of the appropriate forms and documents as only these are placed on the public file. The Regulator and the Regulator’s staff are happy to discuss general questions prior to an application being made but cannot advise on specific points, or prejudge decisions.
A similar approach will be taken to all other matters upon which the Regulator has to decide, such as, approval of a change to the objects of a CIC, or disposal of assets.
As a matter of good administrative practice, and in order to comply with the Regulator’s statutory obligations, the Regulator will consult those who are about to be subject to the Regulator’s decisions before making them, except where it would be inappropriate to do so – for example, in some cases, such as where there is a need to act immediately to safeguard a CIC’s assets, consultation might undermine the purpose for which action is to be taken.
In matters that are not specific to particular companies, such as possible changes to the dividend and interest caps, the Regulator will consult stakeholders before taking action.
The light touch approach to regulation does not envisage pro-active supervision of individual CICs by the Regulator.
All CICs are required to file an annual CIC Report with their accounts which will be placed on the public register at Companies House.
The filing of this CIC Report will not automatically make the Regulator aware of any cause for concern about a CIC, members or any other interested parties may also wish to draw such matters to her attention at any time.
The Regulator will consider the CIC Report and any complaints and, where necessary, may make further enquiries and take appropriate action. It may, however, often be possible to resolve issues in discussion with the interested parties.