Not for Profit

IPS: Bona Fide Co-Operatives or Societies for the Benefit of the Community

An industrial and provident society (IPS) is a legal entity for a trading business or voluntary organisation. There are two types- those that are established to benefit the members “bona fide”, and those established by the members but for the greater good “benefit of the community”.

Key differences:

Societies for the benefit of the community (IPS Community benefit society)

 Trade to benefit the broader community
 Registrar will refer to charity Law
 Societies for the benefit of the community are granted charitable status by HMRC, rather than the Charity Commission.
 Membership is open to anyone who supports the objectives of the society.

Bona Fide Co-Operatives (IPS Co-operative)

 Trade for the mutual benefit of their members
 Registrar will judge the legality of their action by reference to co-operative principles.
 Control of the society must be vested in the members equally
 Members can receive a dividend on their transactions with the society.

Co-ops are the most established and largest form of social enterprises in the UK.

Co-operatives are not just supermarkets and funeral services – although these are amongst the most successful co-operatives found on the high street.
There are over 4,800 independent co-operatives in the UK owned by more than 11 million people and the numbers keep on growing. They work in all parts of the economy, from healthcare to housing, farms to football clubs, credit unions to community owned shops, pubs to public relations, wind farms to web design.

For more information please contact the Charity team on 01323 431200.


Plummer Parsons