Converting to a Community Benefit Society consultation

Boston Mayflower Limited is currently a charitable company registered with Companies House. A Community Benefit Society can still be a charity and is an alternative to a ‘company’ and is a structure specifically designed for organisations whose aim is to improve the communities they operate in. It is a very common structure for registered providers of social housing like Boston Mayflower Limited. We believe that this change will better reflect our activities. Boston Mayflower Limited will remain charitable and a registered provider of social housing regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency.

 

We have a duty to consult with you about this proposed change and our Board will take your views into account before making a final decision. We have created a list of ‘questions and answers’ which will hopefully reassure you that your position as a tenant or leaseholder will not be affected in any way.

           

We would be grateful if you could let us know your views by completing the feedback form below

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Questions and answers

 

We’re contacting you because we would like to convert Boston Mayflower from a registered charity to a Community Benefit Society.

 

We welcome your views and opinions and have put together the following questions and answers to provide you with more information. If you have any further questions then please contact us:

 

Boston Mayflower

www.bostonmayflower.org.uk

0300 365 5000        

cbs@bostonmayflower.org.uk

 

What is a Community Benefit Society?

All organisations have a legal structure that sets out who owns it, the tax it pays, what happens to its profits, how decisions are made and who it is regulated by.

 

Boston Mayflower is currently a charitable company registered with Companies House.

 

A Community Benefit Society is an alternative to a ‘company’. It is an organisation whose purpose is to serve the interests of the wider community.

 

Any profit it makes must be used to benefit the community to help make improvements, even if the company is sold or merged with another organisation.

 

A Community Benefit Society can still be charitable. Although a Community Benefit Society isn’t regulated by the Charity Commission, as a housing provider we would still be regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency who would make sure we comply with the same regulatory, home and other standards as we do now. HM Revenue and Customs would make sure we comply with general charity law requirements.

 

Why is Boston Mayflower considering this change?

Meeting housing need, supporting local communities and investing in our neighbourhoods are our key priorities. We believe that changing to a Community Benefit Society better reflects our activities.

 

We’d like to reassure you that there are no risks to you or Boston Mayflower in making this change.

 

What are the benefits?

Sometimes, like most other housing providers, we sell homes because they are no longer suitable for use or because of the voluntary right to buy. Money raised from these sales is put back into other services, new properties or into the community.

 

When selling these properties, we used to need permission from the Homes and Communities Agency. From April 2017 onwards, the new Housing and Planning Act 2016 removes the requirement for the Homes and Communities Agency to approve these sales. However, as a registered charity we would need the Charity Commission’s permission to sell instead. This wouldn’t give any extra protection to tenants but could lengthen the administration process, be less flexible and may be more costly. If we converted to a Community Benefit Society we would still have charitable status but would not need to go through this process.

 

Are any other housing providers, Community Benefit Societies?

Yes - nearly half of the 1720+ housing associations registered with the Homes and Communities Agency are Community Benefit Societies.

 

Is this connected to the proposal to possibly merge with Boston Mayflower?

No - we would be proposing to do this anyway because of the reasons set out above. If the merger proposal does go forward for consideration then we will consult with you – our tenants and leaseholders – about that separately.

 

Will Boston Mayflower still be regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency?

Yes. Even though a Community Benefit Society isn’t regulated by the Charity Commission, we will still be registered with the Homes and Communities Agency, the independent regulator for affordable housing. The Homes and Communities Agency will still make sure that we keep our promises to tenants and that we meet strict performance standards whether we are a limited company, Community Benefit Society or charity.

 

Will my tenancy, repairs, rent and service charges change?

No - your rights, repairs, rent and charges will be unaffected. Our rent setting will still follow government policy guidelines.

 

Will services or employees change?

No - this proposal is about the legal status of the organisation. Services and employment will remain unchanged.

 

How long is the consultation period?

Consultation begins on May 2, 2017 until June 11, 2017.

 

When will a decision be made?

The Boston Mayflower Board will consider your views before making a final decision later this year.

 

How can I have my say?

You can let us know your views on this proposal by:

 

phoning 0300 365 5000.