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A once in a generation opportunity to change co-operative law

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A graphic advertising a Co-operatives UK policy campaign featuring a photograph of the Houses of Parliament in the early evening and the words 'The Law Commission Review' above the Co-operatives UK logo.

Government has asked the Law Commission to conduct a wholesale examination of co-operative law. Co-operatives UK is now working with members and partners to influence this important review. 

Alongside our retail co-operative society members, infrastructure bodies and federal members, we've campaigned for fundamental change in this legislation for some time. This review is a once in a generation opportunity to improve this essential body of law for the co-operative economy.

The preliminary stage is underway, with the Law Commission having exploratory conversations with stakeholders. Terms of reference are due to be published in early 2024, after which there will be a full public consultation. The review will conclude with the Law Commission reporting to government with specific recommendations for reform. 

Our priority now is to ensure our members can participate fully in the review process, both directly and via our own work. We intend to work with members and partners, including the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mutuals, to coordinate our sector’s response.

In our view, the Review should make recommendations that:

  • Better-enable societies to form, innovate, growth and reach their potential, including unlocking further capital raising options 
  • Remove unnecessary or disproportionate costs, burdens and complexities for societies 

Co-operative law experts Anthony Collins have written briefing notes to help the sector think through its response to the review. These can be read here

Get involved

There are two ways our members can get involved currently:

  • Respond to our online survey – we are collating insights and views from members on issues that should be addressed through the review
  • Book a call with our Policy Officer Tom Laing – ask questions and share views on how society law could be improved
  • Read and respond to our capital working group’s consultation paper on legislative proposals for co-operative capital raising. Email [email protected] by Friday 5 April 2024 to respond.

We will update members once the terms of reference are published and plans for coordination with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mutuals are confirmed.

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