The Co-operative Group is now accepting nominations for board and council elections. Under governance reforms approved in August last year, the council will be responsible for ensuring the Co-operative’s values and principles are upheld and will scrutinise the board’s decisions. Nominations are also being sought to fill the three seats allocated to members on the Group’s new board – the member nominated directors (MNDs).
The board’s main role is to determine the strategy for the Group, in accordance with the Group’s purpose and values and principles and holding the executive to account.
Ursula Lidbetter, the Group’s chair said the opening of nominations was “a historic moment” not only for the Co-operative Group, but also for the wider movement.
“The Group is beginning a three-year rebuild and we are putting in place a board with the right skills and experience to govern that change. As Group board directors, our three MNDs will, collectively with other board members, be responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Group and safeguarding the interests of all our members,” she said.
Lesley Reznicek, president of the transitional member council, added: “This is a truly exciting opportunity for our members to take an active role in the recovery of a great British business. It’s a fundamental aspect of all co-ops that their members are represented at the highest levels of the business and that their interests and concerns are central to decision making. The council and the three member nominated board directors will provide that guarantee.”
There are 100 seats on the council. Of these, 15 are allocated to independent societies, who will elect their own representatives to fill in these positions. Of the 85 seats allocated to individual member representatives, 76 seats will be allocated to individual members in 12 geographic constituencies (geographic representatives) and nine seats will be allocated to special members. Of these nine seats, one seat will be allocated to an individual member representative from the Isle of Man. Three seats will be allocated to individual members aged 25 or under (youth representatives). Four seats will also be available to address shortfalls in diversity (excluding on the grounds of youth) or employee members (council appointed representatives) and one seat will be allocated to a representative from the Co-operative Young Members’ Board (the CYMB Representative).
A different number of seats will be allocated to different regions, depending on geographic constituency: Scotland 9 seats, NI 2 seats, North West 10 seats, North East 3 seats, Yorkshire & Humber 8 seats, Wales 5 seats, West Midlands 4 seats, East Midlands 4 seats, East of England 6 seats, South West 11 seats, South East 9 seats, London 5.
The Group’s new governance reform also gives members the chance to propose motions to be considered at the next annual general meeting. Members can put forward motions that could come before the AGM for a vote by 13 March 2015.
Potential candidates can register on the membership website www.co-operative.coop/membership. The closing date for nominations is 25 February 2015.
Voting for individual members will open no later than 21 April, this being the same date for the MND election and the AGM motions.
The results of the MND election will be formally declared at the AGM on 16 May. The successful MND candidates will commence their term of office at the end of the meeting. If elected, appointment are subject to approval by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority.