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Blogs posted by Co-operatives UK staff, members or supporter organisations.

Co-operatives and executive pay

There have been debates on how much to pay managers and wider staff in the co-operative sector right from the early days.

As perhaps with any issue of economic fairness, there have tended to be two schools of thought. The first is that there might be a universal standard of fairness, that a co-operative can embrace. The second is that what matters is ‘process fairness’, in which executive pay is considered openly and appropriately by members, reflecting the democratic governance model of member-owned coops.

Welsh Co-operative and Mutual Commission report is a call to action, but not just for politicians

The Welsh Government’s announcement in 2012 of a commission for growing the co-operative and mutual economy was something of a breakthrough. It is hard to think of any time in the post-war period when a government in the UK had expressed with such clarity a desire for a more co-operative economy and society. The establishment of the Welsh Co-operative and Mutual Commission was rightly greeted with an excited expectation that, in Wales at least, the prevalent rethink on political economy was leading policymakers in a co-operative direction.

Co-op finance institution wins national award for innovation

Co-operative & Community Finance, the Bristol-based lender for ethical enterprises, has won the Innovation Award in a new national scheme that recognises and rewards excellence in community finance.

Drumlin Wind Turbine Generates First Kilowatt hours

Northern Ireland’s only community owned wind co-operative – Drumlin Wind Energy Co-op, generated its first units of electricity this week; quite literally putting ‘the power’ into the hands of local people.

Flooded with debt? How community finance can help

We are, as an economy, flooded with debt.

The rebranding of ‘debt’ as ‘credit’ ranks is now recognised as something of an economic folly. It sidestepped a very British tradition of self-help and responsibility. While debt still mounts, the marketing of credit papers over the reality – that widening economic inequalities make access to consumer choice far less open than before.

Win more work with the public sector: Join the National Consortium for Social Enterprises

If your co-operative wants to win more public service work and/or offer employment opportunities for ex-offenders and marginalised individuals then take five minutes to sign up to the National Consortium for Social Enterprises for free today, and increase your co-op or social enterprise’s opportunities to win work with the public sector.

The National Consortium for Social Enterprises is delivered by a partnership between 3SC, Social Firms UK and Social Enterprise UK and funded by NOMS CFO.

Lessening the ‘Lease’ headache

Is your co-operative about to enter into a commercial lease?  Not sure what the provisions in the lease mean?  Linda Barlow from Co-operatives UK's Advice Team provides a quick canter through some of the main heads of terms included in a commercial lease.

Co-operative Policy in 2014

On the policy front 2014 will be a momentous year for co-operatives in the UK. It will also be one full of opportunity and risk in roughly equal measure; and I have no doubt a few black swans are waiting in the wings as well.

Talking about the year ahead at the end of January might seem a little untimely, but there is a good reason for doing so now. After careful consideration our policy priorities for 2014 have been agreed.

Policy Priorities

No Flowers, Please – what has happened to the reputation of co-operatives and mutuals in the UK?

The challenges of The Co-operative Bank and the furore around the role of the former chair, made co-operatives – businesses that are member-owned – an unhappy national news story in late 2013.

Three months on and I feel that I can breathe again. But what difference did these high profile troubles make to the wider co-operative sector and the long-term reputation of our business model?

Governance in co-operatives

The vocabulary of organisations, in books, business schools and workplaces, tends to be a language of hierarchy. Governance then refers to the direction of a business – the ultimate ‘buck stops here’. A different model is to understand governance in ecological terms, as a system of feedback, which allows businesses to correct course where needed. 

Whichever one you prefer, good governance has to combine the qualities of direction and of listening.


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