Having worked at the Co-operative Group for 16 years in the Board Secretariat team and obtaining her Chartered Secretary qualifications, Claire Dalton joined Co-operatives UK as Society Secretary with a wealth of experience and expertise.
What's your role at Co-operatives UK?
I’ve been in post as Society Secretary at Co-operatives UK since December 2022. I’m qualified to provide a full professional company secretarial service to organisations needing this support and am used to doing secondments.
What experience do you bring to this role?
I’ve spent my career supporting boards in lots of ways including agenda setting, board paper writing, maintaining statutory records, ensuring compliance, company incorporations and society registrations. I have worked with a breadth of boards and committees including The Co-operative Foundation, a registered charity, and the Co-operative Academies Trust.
I have some regulatory experience from my time at Co-op Group through my work with the insurance and funeral plans businesses which were subject to FCA regulation. I was also CoSec of Co-operative Legal Services, which was regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
I also bring some risk management experience with me. As risk champion for my team, I was responsible for identifying and reviewing risks, maintaining the risk register and schedule of control testing as well as risk reporting.
I’ve also been involved in numerous projects including corporate restructuring, company conversions and transfers of engagements as well as mergers, acquisitions, disposals and finance projects.
In your opinion, why is co-op governance so important? What do you think is the most important issue in co-op governance today?
I think governance is important in any type of organisation but I think it's particularly important in co-ops due to their nature; the democratic structures and numerous stakeholders involved. Good governance in co-ops is all the more important as we are purpose-led and underpinned by our values and principles. An important issue in co-op governance is recognising that there are so many different types of co-ops with unique governance characteristics. Co-operatives UK can offer governance support to all types of co-ops.
What do you hope to achieve in your role?
Co-operatives UK is the apex co-operative society in the UK and our members look to us as an example, so I want to work to ensure that we strive for best practice in all we do.
Do you have any examples of where you've supported another co-op?
In 2014 I was approached by the Secretary of the Co-op Credit Union to see if I’d like to do some voluntary work to support them. I jumped at the chance to take on the role of Secretary and Director. I’ve always been a believer in supporting organisations that do business in a different way and have members at the heart of their purpose. Having been a CCU member since 2006, I saw the value of supporting a not-for-profit organisation that was owned and controlled by its members and provided an alternative to other financial institutions and credit providers. I stepped down when I went on maternity leave and re-joined as Secretary last year – I’m pleased to be back in the fold!
Does your co-op need support with its governance?
If you'd like to speak to a member of our advice team to understand how we can support your co-op – about governance, HR, finance or membership – contact the advice team.