By Jess Clarke, Council Communications Assistant

When I paid my £1 to become a Co-op Member, I didn’t really give much thought to what it actually meant. But the more I’ve learned about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s an amazing thing to be. Not many other businesses, if any, let you become a shared owner for just £1 and give you a say in the things they do and how they do them. Our Co-op does though – it’s why we are different.

There’s so many ways to get involved in our Co-op; from giving feedback on a product in a Join in opportunity, to voting in our Annual General Meeting (AGM), members can work with us to have an impact in a way that suits them.

I’m really lucky as I work in the Council Secretariat team and get to see first-hand just how passionate our members are, and how they champion co-operation for the good of our Co-op.

Did you know that our members are also represented at the heart of our Co-op by our Members’ Council? Our National Members’ Council is made up of 100 Co-op Members from around the UK, including colleagues. They meet six times a year to hear about the things Co-op is doing as a business. Our Council Members then have the chance to ask questions and input into decisions to be advocates for our Co-op values and principles and make sure things are done in a way that benefits our members and communities.

Our Members’ Council last met in Manchester in September, welcoming new members and our new Chief Finance Officer, Shirine Khoury-Haq, for the first time. After hearing about this year’s interim results and the latest on business performance, we tried a different approach to our meeting and ran workshops with colleagues from around Co-op to share ideas for what the business’s future vision will look like and how we can make a real difference that leaves a legacy to be proud of.

You can get involved in our meetings, and we’d love to hear from you via Join in , where we post our focus areas and welcome your questions on these. This is not only a great way to connect our business with our members and learn about what matters most to them, but it gives you the chance to have your voice heard and questions answered at the highest level of our Co-op. You can read all about our last meeting here and our next opportunity will be going live in December.

In the meantime, if there’s anything you’d like to know more about, or if you have any ideas on how we can do business differently, get in touch with one of your local representatives. And if you’re a colleague, but not yet a member, make sure you sign up, as colleagues get some great perks throughout the year.

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. It’s great to have a council and be in a unique position. One thing I don’t see when looking at this photograph is diversity. Mostly middle aged white women and a few middle aged white men, which is a real shame as it should reflect our member base to be truly representative.

  2. William – we have a AGM where members can ask questions of our Board, Chief Executive and the Exec team. At the AGM the Board and Exec report on our performance over the last year and outline our plans and ambitions for the year ahead.

    They’re usually held on the third Saturday in May each year.

    • Chris; I’ve been atttending the Group AGMs longer than I care to remember. Of course members can ask questions but so can shareholders at their AGMs. So, where is the Co-op ‘difference’?

  3. The members council definitely makes us unique. However I was disappointed when I applied because although there was a lack of BAME representation on the Council, and I applied to be a member, I was excluded because I was a colleague, so it felt like an additional criteria was applied to people who applied for Co-opted seats than those who did not, and the Co-opted seats were there to address inequality issues, so it didn’t feel fair.

  4. In a truly democratic organisation the executive would be answerable to, and report to, the members and not the Members Council merely ‘asking questions’.

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