Lord Victor Adebowale announced as keynote speaker at the Practitioners Forum

Lord Adebowale will talk about The Business of Social Change

Delegates at this year’s Practitioners Forum in Manchester will hear from keynote speaker Lord Victor Adebowale.

Chief executive of social care enterprise Turning Point and independent non-executive director at the Co-op Group, Lord Adebowale will talk about the Business of Social Change.

The forum, which is expected to attract 200 delegates on 22 November, facilitates professional training for people in key roles in co-operative businesses.

It includes five specialist forums, which cover communications, finance, governance, HR and membership. Delegates can choose to remain in one stream for the whole day or attend sessions in different forums.

Lord Victor Adebowale

John Atherton, membership manager at Co-operatives UK, which organises the forum, said: “The brilliant thing about the Practitioners Forum is that its scope pretty much encompasses our entire membership. Farming co-ops, housing co-ops, retail societies, energy co-ops… I could go on. They’ll all be represented in Manchester at this year’s event. Its enduring popularity always comes down to the content – and the fact that we have entire streams dedicated to five distinct areas: to communications, HR, governance, marketing and finance.

“An incredible amount of time and effort goes into putting the content together and we’ve an amazing line-up of speakers covering the subject matter that’s most relevant to our members. We know some of our members have, for example, comms or marketing professionals. Others have people operating across a number of areas. That’s why we’ve built in the flexibility to mix and match sessions across the different forums. I shouldn’t forget to mention the great networking opportunities our flagship training and development event always offers.”

The Communications Forum will include a presentation on Using brand as a business tool from consultant Rupinder Ashworth and a session on upgrading digital presence from Zoe Lawrie of the Co-operative Bank. Next on, delegates will hear from Greg Ashton from Reason Digital, who will cover strategies and top tips around successful engagement on social media. Oli Watts from East of England Co-operative will follow on with a presentation on running effective campaigns on a budget.

In the Finance Forum sessions will touch on accounting and tax, economic trends, co-operative and community capital, and developing KPIs to support growth and business performance. Speakers include Steve Abbott, Luke Ryan and Steve Townsend and Denis Tatarkov of KPMG; Ged Devlin of Power to Change; John Sandford from the Co-operative Performance Committee; and Shelagh Everett from Co-operatives UK.

Those attending the Governance track will learn about getting boards to work from Ashley Harshak of TELOS; the code for effective governance from Emma Laycock of Co-operatives UK, legal updates from David Alcock and Rose Klemperer of Anthony Collins Solicitors and developing KPIs to support growth and business performance from John Sanford of the Co-operative Performance Committee and Shelagh Everett of Co-operatives UK.

The HR stream will explore the themes of diversity and inclusion. Sharon Pegg of Northern Powerhouse Consulting will look at inclusive leadership while Kellee Torr, head of HR at Central England Co-operative will suggest ways of promoting gender equality in the workplace. Emma Bagshaw, a consultant senior solicitor, will discuss Equal Opportunities and recruitment as well as lead a gender pay roundtable.

Membership is also on the agenda at the forum, where experts will give examples of authentic campaigning and engaging a younger audience, community impact, creating a member journey map and unlocking member value through increased participation. Speaking in this forum will be Katie Cosgrove of RECLAIM Project; Mike Pickering of the Midcounties Co-operative, and Katherine Westell, Mark Robinson-Field and James Oliver of the Co-op Group.

“Ticket sales are going really well and we expect another sell-out year – so be quick if you’re intending to join us at the Studio on 22 November,” added Mr Atherton.

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