My name is Ceri Witchard and I became the Regulator of Community Interest Companies (CICs) in September 2015.
CICs are everywhere, even in Barry
Since I started, I’ve learnt a lot about CICs. It’s a varied sector, with CICs operating in every part of the UK, and in every type of business. I've even noticed a few in my home town of Barry.
The local radio station, Bro Radio (that I listen to on my way to work), is a CIC. Bro Radio broadcasts across the Vale of Glamorgan, Bro Morgannwg being the Welsh for 'Vale of Glamorgan”. They have 40 volunteers and deliver local news, weather and a varied musical playlist.
There's also Pukka productions. Pukka teaches dance, drama and music to children in my home town. Children learn performing art skills, and also grow in confidence and self-esteem. These are just two CICs in my home town. I hope to use this blog to share examples of many others.
We have a role to play
Of course I am not on my own as the Regulator. I have an amazing team. We are a small team. There are just 7 of us: me, Phil, Marilyn, Ann, Jaci, Helen and Natalie. But we are a dedicated group and committed to helping CICs set up and grow. As a team we cover every aspect of regulating the CIC sector. This means we handle incorporations, complaints and dissolutions. Although CICs must operate as a business, they must also deliver real community benefit. This is what is special about being a CIC. The team checks every application to incorporate a CIC. They make sure that the community benefit is real. This is important to us. We want to make sure the CIC brand stays strong and that people can be confident that if a company is a CIC it will have a social purpose at its heart.
We also have a role to play in building understanding of the CIC business model and how it works. When I first became Regulator I knew what a CIC was. I knew there were almost 12,000 in the UK. But I didn't know any CICs. Since then I've met many CICs and seen that they are excellent businesses. I've even noticed CICs on my own doorstep. We will use this blog to let you know about work and developments in the CIC sector. I hope you will use it to let us know your views and comment on topics that interest you.