A theory of governance used by several UK co-ops, particularly worker co-ops, sociocracy draws on the use of consent, rather than majority voting, in discussion and decision-making by people who have a shared goal or work process.
PCEC and NewsSocial say they aim to offer sociocracy services not only to the co-operative sector, but also “non-profit and socially progressive organisations and networks”.
As part of this partnership, PCEC will provide formal sociocracy training and courses customised for individual organisational needs. The centre will work with NewsSocial to provide consulting and handholding services to support the implementation of sociocracy practices. This will include using the NewsSocial platform which, they say, supports sociocracy and fosters initiative, innovation and better flow of information.
Organisations receiving support will be able to use services as tools during the training process and as licensed services post-training.
“Sociocracy is one important tool that allows organisations and networks to govern themselves democratically and more efficiently,” said PCEC founding director Prof Mick McKeown. “Sociocracy is about consent-based decision making and about democratic governance based on shared power, better information flow, initiative, and innovation.
“Challenges facing humanity require reinventing the way organisations and networks conduct their affairs,” said Prof Julian Manley from NewsSocial, “especially those supporting a more equitable sharing economy such as co-operatives, mutuals, social enterprises, and trade unions. The object is to support democratic forms of governance in organisations as well as making the most of the opportunities brought about by the technological revolution we are passing through.”
PCEC was founded in 2021 as a union-co-op to support the creation of worker-owned co-operatives in Preston. It provides education and training in co-ops and co-operation, with members including tutors, local councillors, lecturers and trade unionists.
Newssocial is a multi-stakeholder co-op aspiring to be the go-to social platform for co-operatives, change makers and citizens’ assemblies. It runs an app that enables users to exchange news, ideas and opinions.
PCEC and NewsSocial Cooperative Society are supportive of Preston City Council’s community wealth building initiative – commonly known as the Preston model. In 2019 NewsSocial signed a memorandum of understanding with Preston Council and University of Central Lancashire to support their efforts to design a co-operative entrepreneurial ecosystem for Preston.