ACP-UK on becoming a Community Interest Company (CIC)
Why is ACP-UK a community interest company? Bernard Kat, one of our Directors, explains
Clinical psychologists are caring and creative people. They create new ways of understanding people’s problems, new methods of assessment and therapy, and new services to provide them. Although working as a clinical psychologist can be personally satisfying, this is not the reason why most do the job. Most want to help other people in need and to contribute to a better quality of life for those less fortunate than themselves. That is why we established ACP-UK as a social enterprise, which is an organisation that uses business-like methods and strategies to maximise the impact of clinical psychologists on the society and communities in which we all live and work.
Community interest companies or CICs are a special type of company introduced in 2005 to provide a means by which a social enterprise which is not a charity can nonetheless commit itself to working for the benefit of a defined community. In our case the benefit to the community that we seek to achieve is “the improvement of the health, social care and well-being of the population”. The population in question is the population of the four nations of the United Kingdom. We have committed ourselves to doing that by “promoting, publicising, supporting and developing the contributions of clinical psychologists”.
There are many kinds of social enterprise. Ours is a not-for-profit company, which means that our assets and any surplus of income over expenditure will be used to further our aims, not to provide payouts to shareholders. We have no shareholders in the commercial sense. ACP-UK is owned by its members, each of whom guarantees to support the company financially (£1 per member) in the unlikely event that it has to be closed down because it cannot meet its debts.
As a community interest company limited by guarantee of its members ACP-UK has multiple accountabilities. It is formally accountable to (1) Companies House, for the proper organisation and management of the company and its finances; (2) the Regulator of Community Interest Companies for working towards the benefits that it has set out achieve; and (3) its members, who own it. There is a further implied but nevertheless important accountability, to the population of the United Kingdom to make the contributions of clinical psychologists and their services as well-known and as effective as we can in order to improve the health, social care and well-being of our fellow citizens.
Bernard Kat, Oct 2018
The community served by ACP-UK CIC