Registered societies: an introduction

Find out about registered societies (co-operative societies, community benefit societies, and former industrial and provident societies), how to register, reporting requirements and how to change a society’s rules and details.

‘Registered societies’ include:

  • co-operative societies – businesses that are run for the benefit of their members, distributing profits between their members
  • community benefit societies – businesses that are run for the benefit of the wider community, re-investing profits in the community
  • ‘pre-commencement societies’ (industrial and provident societies, registered before 1 August 2014)

We the registering authority for these societies.

Register your society

To become a registered society, applicants must:

If your society wishes to carry out a regulated activity, then you must also apply for authorisation for that activity.


There is a one-off fee to register your society.

We also charge a yearly fee, which is based on your society’s total assets.

This fee keeps your registration up to date and covers the cost of:

  • filing your annual return
  • registering changes and any other documents
  • other services (for example, answering queries and maintaining the public register)

Read about annual fees and how we calculate them.

Report to us

By law, registered societies must send us an annual return and accounts.

Read about annual returns and reporting.

You must also report on other matters during the year.

Public documents will be published in the Mutuals Public Register

Change details

You must tell us of any changes to your society’s:

  • registered office
  • name
  • rules
  • accounting year-end date

Some of these changes are subject to our approval, and are not effective until you have received this approval from us.

Find out what to do if you wish to:

  • convert your society to a limited company
  • convert your company to a registered society
  • transfer your engagements to another society or company

Cancel or dissolve a registered society

Read about how to dissolve or cancel the registration of a registered society.

Leaflet for banks

Use this leaflet to explain to banks about registered societies:

More information

Find out more about mutual societies: