The UK Society for Co-operative Studies is considering becoming an incorporated charity.
The society is currently an unincorporated charity, which means it is not a legal body in its own right – and so cannot enter into contracts in its own name. This means the responsibility falls upon individual trustees, making them personally liable for what the charity does.
At the annual general meeting in Newcastle, members looked at the various models the organisation could adopt. The executive committee suggested setting up an association charitable incorporated organisation and transferring the assets from the current unincorporated association. As an incorporated charity, the society would have a legal identity separate from individual members.
Members agreed the recommendation and the society will now consult them on the development of a new model constitution. The registration and transfer process could take up to 40 days, with no cost on transfer involved.
“We have to deliver for public benefit as charity not for members, but members are important,” said chair Ian Adderley.
The move follows a similar process by the Co-operative College, which changed its legal structure earlier this year.
The AGM also elected four members to the executive committee: Nick Matthews, Mervyn Eastman, Rory Ridley-Duff and Cilla Ross. In addition, the society co-opted John Maddocks onto the executive committee. Mr Maddocks is an accountant with over 30 years’ experience of working with third sector organisations.
The society will retain its current membership rate – £22 for standard individual members, £30 for sponsor members and £15 for unwaged members. Organisations can also be members for a standard annual fee of £40 or a sponsor annual fee of £100.
Upon joining, members receive the UKSCS journal, which is also available at www.thenews.coop/journal. Since making the transition to an open access journal, the society has lost more than half of its members, going from 172 in 2013 to 63 in 2016.
“We have not lost contact completely and we can rebuild these relationships but is still the right decision to make because the number of people buying was a barrier. We’re a small sector, a small organisation, we need to get our knowledge out there,” said Mr Matthews.
The society is also aiming to disseminate more content through different channels, confirmed Mr Adderley. In July it organised a Co-operatives Fortnight lecture from Dame Pauline Green, former president of the International Co-operative Alliance. Her speech was filmed and is available online.
The videos of the keynote speeches from the society’s annual conference in Newcastle will also be published online.
The UKSCS is currently in discussions with EBSCO, the e-journal database, to have its journal listed on the platform, which could bring in additional revenue.
To mark its 50th anniversary next year, the society plans to publish a commemorative journal. It will also host its annual conference in September, under the theme Co-operative Commonwealth.
In this article
- Business models
- Charitable Incorporated Organisation
- Charity law
- Cilla Ross
- Co-operative College
- Commonwealth Day
- Ian Adderley
- International Co-operative Alliance
- John Maddocks
- Mervyn Eastman
- Nick Matthews
- Pauline Green
- Rory Ridley Duff
- Social Issues
- The Co-operative brand
- The Co-operative Group
- the UKSCS journal
- Types of business entity
- UK Society
- United Kingdom company law
- Voluntary association
- United Kingdom
- Top Stories