Co-operators set to meet in Manchester to discuss Bank crisis

An open conference on the future of the Co-operative Bank and the movement is being held in Manchester next month.

An open conference on the future of the Co-operative Bank and the movement is being held in Manchester next month.

Organised by Co-operative Business Consultants, the event will facilitate a discussion between co-operators on the ways forward for the co-operative business model. The conference, sponsored by UK Society for Co-operative Studies and Suma Wholefoods, will feature best practice case studies and workshops on membership engagement, as well as an exhibition.

Speakers will also analyse the existing financial co-operatives, looking at a new strategy for banking and insurance within the movement. Sourcing capital is another topic that will be discussed at the conference, reviewing how and where the movement should source its capital, with a special emphasis on the role of members’ capital.

Speakers will assess how co-operatives with large membership can learn from other democratic organisations such as trade unions, credit unions, regional societies, supporter-owned clubs and large worker co-operatives.

One featured workshop will focus on large co-ops and making membership meaningful, speakers include professor Joshua Bamfield, Centre for Retail Research and Dave Hollings, Co-operative and Mutual Solutions.

Apart from raising awareness of how to make the best use of the co-operative difference, the conference also aims to raise awareness of financial services regulations and co-operative ownership and to promote the role of credit unions for savings and loans.

The conference will also be focused on the importance of achieving sustainable progress, while ensuring that co-operatives continue to apply the co-operative difference, not only in terms of marketing, but also as a governance and management tool.

Keynote speakers include Vivian Woodell, Chief Executive of the Phone Co-op; John Mann MP, Treasury Select Committee member; Dominic Hook, National Officer at Unite; Frances Coppola, former banker now financial writer; and Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of Plunkett Foundation.

In a workshop Shaun Fenson from Save Our Bank campaign and Laura Willoughby from Move Your Money campaign will look at ways forward for individual banking.

Another workshop will focus on making membership meaningful for large co-ops. Presentations will feature member-owned energy projects with Jon Halle from Sharenergy and Ricky Davies from Biomass Energy Co-op.

• The conference takes place on Friday, 17 January. Tickets cost £24, for more details visit:

In this article

Join the Conversation