What is the ORCIC?

The Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies (ORCIC) is an independent office holder that is appointed by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, Industrial and Strategy (BEIS).

ORCIC are regulated under the UK legislation, Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004. Their responsibility is to elect whether an organisation is eligible to become or continue to be a community interest company (CIC).

What is a CIC?

A CIC is a business or type of company that has primary social objectives that want to use their profits and assets for public projects and benefit communities.

CIC’s must be limited company when set up. Therefore, they cannot be a charity organisation. However, an existing charity can convert to a CIC with the correct permissions but will lose its charitable status.

Owners of CIC’s are considered to be philanthropic entrepreneurs and investors that may want to support many projects. This is rather than be limited to one cause as with a charity.

CIC’s play a valuable role in creating a robust, sustainable community. They are considered easy to set up but have some unique features that ensure they are working for the benefit of the community.

CIC’s concern themselves with reinvesting for a purpose within the business or the community rather shareholder profits, The CIC’s invest in areas such as:

  • Social issues.
  • Environmental issues.
  • As well as operating in many different areas of the economy.

What is the function of ORCIC?

The Regulator oversees the CIC’s. The first Regulator of CIC’s was appointed in 2005 and the Regulators office started to receive applications later on that year.

The function of the Regulator is laid out in the Community Interest Company Regulations 2005.

They provide informed advice and performs impartial and fair regulatory decisions including the ‘light-touch regulation.’ The Regulator takes on several different roles such as:

Investigating complaints and taking actions were deemed necessary

  • The Regulator can appoint auditors at their own expense to examine and report to them on any accounts belonging to a CIC. Although these powers are used more rarely to obtain evidence on whether enforcement of Regulations should be used in a CIC. The Regulator can use this evidence to:
    • Bring civil proceedings against the named company owners
    • Appoint or remove directors
    • Appoint a manager to a CIC
    • To order a transfer of shares
    • Present a petition to the courts of a CIC’s end
    • Apply to the court for the CIC to be restored to the Register

To consider whether or not an application to become a CIC meets the criteria laid out by the ORCIC.

  • The Regulator spends a considerable amount of their time assessing the registration or conversion documents for new potential CIC’s. These are referred to them by the Registrar. The Regulator then decides if the application is successful or not based on the community interest statement. They also use documents supplied upon registration such as the application form to assess.
  • It is for the Regulator to decide if the mission statement for the community satisfies the community interest test. The Regulator does not take an official approach to the formation of CIC’s.
  • Therefore, their decisions instead pass through the Regulators office. This is a part-time department located in Companies house in Cardiff. Typically, an informal approach to resolving an issue is taken. This can be done through Letter, Email or a phonecall.

To provide guidance enabling a CIC to be formed and regulated correctly including ‘light touch’ regulations of CIC’s.

  • The Regulator may provide guidance and assistance on matters that relate to CIC’s. This includes consulting with shareholders on any Regulatory guidance before it is issued again this is done informally. The Regulator and the Regulator’s team are also able to discuss matters relating to CICs generally with interested individuals or organisations. However, they are not allowed to give guidance about specific CICs or to presuppose conclusions about CICs in advance of the submission of formal applications made to them. 
  • To inform the registrar of Companies House of any successful application so a certificate of incorporation as a new CIC can be issues
  • To encourage the use of CIC’s for suitable enterprises.