But panic not - what this actually means is that, from that date IPSs will be known as either “community benefit societies” or “co-operative societies”, depending on how they designated themselves when they were formed. And, it only applies to societies registered (with the Financial Conduct Authority) after 1 August 2014. Those registered before then will be known as “Pre-2010 Act Societies” (although, in practice, they will probably call themselves “community benefit” or “co-operative” societies, for consistency). The change in terminology essentially aims to update the rather outdated and dusty term “industrial and provident society”, replacing it with descriptors that are already widely used (particularly by IPSs outside the housing sector, where co-ops are more common).

More thrillingly, for those who have to deal with the administrative side of IPSs, is the news that the Financial Conduct Authority will (from 6 April) accept applications for new registrations by email. The process for doing this is to be clarified, and it will still be subject to the FCA’s standard 15-working day processing time, but it is a clear step towards modernisation. The National Housing Federation (whose consent is needed by societies using the NHF’s Model Rules) is apparently also getting on the “electronic submission” bandwagon. Exciting times indeed for IPSs!

Gemma Bell is an associate at Anthony Collins Solicitors.

For more information

Contact Gemma Bell on gemma.bell@anthonycollins.com or 0121 214 3596.

This piece first appeared in Inside Housing on 28 February 2014. A copy of this article can also be found on their website – click here to view.