7.6.3 Practitioner licensing

The term practitioner is used to describe a person who provides support to new and established societies developing a community share offer. This support can take a variety of forms, ranging from reviewing offers for the Standard Mark, through to advising societies on the development of governance arrangements, community engagement plans and investment strategies, designing and writing offer documents and business plans, and in some cases, providing expert technical support in sector specialisms. Many practitioners have hands-on experience as entrepreneurs and management committee members of societies that have made successful community share offers.

The community shares practitioner licensing scheme was developed by the Community Shares Unit to grant competent practitioners the powers to award the Community Shares Standard Mark to share offers that meet the required standard. Practitioners undergo a competency-based assessment process, focusing on their community shares support work with a client society. Practitioners are required to conduct a further three Standard Mark reviews under the supervision of the Community Shares Unit, before they are licensed to issue the Mark in their own right. Licenced practitioners are asked to agree to a Code of Practice, which includes a requirement to avoid any conflicts of interest in awarding the Mark. This means that a practitioner cannot award the Mark to a share offer they have been involved in writing, or where they on the management committee of the society making the offer.

The Community Shares Unit maintains a directory of licenced practitioners on its website, highlighting the practitioners’ profiles, sector specialisms and operational regions.


If you have any questions or suggestions for new information you would like to find in the Handbook, contact the team by email at communityshares@uk.coop