Phone Co-op to recommend a transfer of engagements to Midcounties Co-operative

'We have a unique opportunity to grow, and serve our members, with a pretty unique set of products that will prepare us for the future'

The Phone Co-op is to propose a transfer of engagements to Midcounties Co-operative at a special general meeting later this month.

The boards of both societies have agreed to recommend the move, which will be put to members of the Phone Co-op at the Sheffield Hallam University meeting on Saturday 28 April.

Nick Thompson, chief executive of the Phone Co-op, said: I am delighted that the Phone Co-op’s consistent success in building a successful consumer co-operative in telecommunications and cloud services has been recognised by Midcounties.

“I firmly believe that working together with Midcounties and Co-operative Energy we have a unique opportunity to grow, and serve our members, with a pretty unique set of products that will prepare us for the future and will enable us to advance in the digital and social inclusive arena in what it is clearly a broken market. 

“This is an exciting opportunity that promises to offer the Phone Co-op the chance to write a new chapter in its history of co-operative telecoms.”

A statement from the Phone Co-op said that both boards “recognise the close synergy between two businesses providing essential services to homes and businesses up and down the UK,” and highlighted the “potential to provide a comprehensive utilities service that meets the needs of members across both societies”.

The proposed move would see both businesses continue to operate individually “while maximising opportunities to provide quality service and cost savings to each other’s customer bases”.

Jane Watts, chair of the Phone Co-op, said: “Why we believe this to be the best way forward, is in part driven by our members’ obvious concern about continuing to have, as a major part of our co-operative, the provision of household level telecommunications. The reach offered by Midcounties, as they have shown through Co-op Energy, is considerable, and so is the level of customer service.

“The transition period will be significant and will enable us to share our high levels of customer service and approaches to the telecommunications world. This is a good example of co-operatives working co-operatively and we are assured that our brand will be kept.”

The proposal follows the recent launch of the Phone Co-op’s 2018 – 2022 Business Strategy, which sparked concern among members. The Phone Co-op says the strategy will be maintained within the parameters of jointly agreed business planning processes.

It added: “The importance of both Chipping Norton, as the Phone Co-op’s home and an important location in Midcounties retail estate, and Manchester is recognised by all parties and the Phone Co-op’s offices will be retained.”

The process for a transfer of engagements requires two members’ votes, with the Phone Co-op Special General Meeting on 28 April providing the forum for the first vote. 

In the event of a positive vote, a second meeting will be organised at a date to be decided in May.

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