HM Treasury News Release 37/98 23 March 1998 -------------------------------------------------------------- REVIEW ON INDUSTRIAL AND PROVIDENT SOCIETY LEGISLATION Proposals to update and modernise the legislation covering industrial and provident societies were published in a consultation document issued jointly today by the Treasury and Registry of Friendly Societies. Views are sought on modernising the Industrial and Provident Societies 1965 from all of the main types of industrial and provident society including co-operatives, housing associations and clubs on the changes they would wish to see if a legislative opportunity arose. The main issues are: whether any new legislation should contain specific provisions defining different types of society; whether ways can be found to simplify, and reduce the cost of the registration process, perhaps by adopting a 'statutory declaration' system along the lines of that used under the Companies Act; aligning the legislation with developments in general company law, including corporate governance; and provisions relating to mergers, conversions and transfers. Commenting on the document, Economic secretary Helen Liddell said: "The Act, as it stands, is a consolidation of 19th century legislation, so it is not surprising it is showing its age. "Although there can be no guarantee of legislation in the near future, we want to find out what societies' views are now, so we can be ready if an opportunity arises." The consultation period will last six weeks. NOTES TO EDITORS 1. Industrial and provident societies are mutual, incorporated organisations which are either co-operatives or conduct their business for the benefit of the community. In practice, societies fall into seven classifications depending on their business: Retail, Wholesale and Productive, Agricultural, Fishing, Clubs, Housing, and General service. There are around 11,000 currently at the Registry of Friendly Societies. 2. Media copies of the consultation document are available from the Treasury Press Office on 0171 270 5185. 3. Non-media copies are available from Keith Johnson, Registry of Friendly Societies, Victory House, 30-34 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6ES on 0171 663 5282. 4. If you have access to the Internet you can find this news release and consultation document and other Treasury material at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk.