Rule change brings new directors to Co-operatives UK board

Members of Co-operatives UK have voted for a new structure of the organisation's board.

Members of Co-operatives UK have voted for a new structure of the organisation's board. 

The board of directors will for the first time include a non-retail consumer co-operative member, following a decision at its AGM. It will also welcome an extra representative from a mixed ownership or enterprise owned co-operative and lose two consumer co-op representatives.

Helen Barber, Secretary and Head of Co-operative Advice and Policy, told the AGM: “Although Co-operatives UK in its constituent parts has been in existence for 173 years, we’ve only been Co-operatives UK since 2001.

“The working group established to work on the new structure recognised at the time that the membership would grow and develop. With that in mind they built into the rulebook a requirement that we review the rules every four years.”

Last year Co-operatives UK introduced new membership categories as part of the review process. The board changes reflect the new categories.

The number of directors from the Co-operative Group will drop from seven to six. Midlands and Midcounties Co-operatives will both retain one representative, but other consumer co-ops will have four represntatives, compared to five under the previous rules.

There will still be two representatives collectively from worker co-ops and employee-owned businesses, one from a co-operative development body and one from a federation. The number of directors from mixed ownership and enterprise owned co-operatives increases from one to two and one director will represent the new category of non-retail consumer co-operatives.

“The board determined that it was appropriate to keep the board size about the same at 19 places, and the focus should continue to be representative of our co-operative sector membership,” said Ms Barber.

“Reallocation of one place and re-use of a previously unallocated position have allowed for each of the co-operative categories in membership to have at least one place on the board. This is to recognise the increasing diversity of the co-operative movement.”

The rule change was passed unanimously at the Co-operatives UK AGM 2013; part of Co-operative Congress in Cardiff. The changes will take place when existing directors have completed their terms of office.

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