Saturday 22 June
09.15 - 09.30 - Welcome
Ed Mayo, Co-operatives UK
Two years on since the National Co-op Development Strategy Do It Ourselves, launched at Co-op Congress, progress has been made against the ambitious targets to significantly grow the co-op sector by 2037. Ahead of a planned review of the strategy and with the context of today’s economic and political climate we invite you to continue to shape the direction of travel and have your say on whether the strategy still reflects the needs of co-ops in a post-Brexit economy.
09.30 - 10.30 - Leading the way for a fairer economy
Claire McCarthy, The Co-op Party - Paul Gerrard, The Co-op - Oliver Bullough, Journalist and Ed Mayo, Co-operatives UK
In a time of economic uncertainty, rapid technological change and increasing environmental impact, what role should the largest member-owned businesses play in creating a more productive, more equal and more just future for our members and society as a whole?
11.00 - 11.45 - Communities in charge – campaigning to give people economic power after Brexit
Tony Armstong, Locality - James Alcock, Plunkett Foundation - Ed Whitelaw, Real Ideas Organisation - Ed Mayo, Co-operatives UK
The government promised to create a Shared Prosperity Fund after Brexit, to replace EU funds for economic development. A number of organisations are campaigning together for communities to have control over some of this money. We know how badly people on low incomes in deprived places need more power. But there’s a real danger that control of these funds will go straight to unaccountable business networks, who find it too easy to misunderstand and ignore the needs and aspirations of the people they are supposed to help. We need to harness the power of our communities to gain agency, ownership and control in the economy. This is the only way to achieve genuine shared prosperity. Find out about this campaign and how you can help put communities in charge.
11.00 - 11.45 - Board skills
Angela Lomax, Expert reference panel - Emma Laycock, Co-operatives UK
11.00 - 11.45 - Developing effective leadership and strategy in a co-operative way
Stefan Stern, RSA - Jenny Carlyle, Suma - Heather Lee, Lincolnshire Co-op
There is a myth that co-ops are slow decision makers, risk averse and lack decisive leadership. Listen to three very different approaches to developing leadership in worker owned, community and large co-operative businesses, then take part in an interactive discussion to learn, share and be inspired.
11.45 - 12.30 - Disrupting the disrupters, can platform co-ops take on big tech monopolies?
Trebor Scholz, The New School - Terry Tyldesley, Resonate - Marloes Nicholls, Finance Innovation Lab - Simon Borkin, Co-operatives UK (chair)
In an increasing global market place, platform and network businesses from AirBnb to Uber are disrupting and dominating their respective markets. At their core there is in an uneasy relationship between user and platform, and there are examples of platform co-ops emerging in all sectors around the globe. From music streaming platforms providing artists a fair deal for their content, to taxi drivers and health care professionals getting a fair wage for their work. These services are provided by co-operatives that welcome workers and users of their platforms as co-owners. Get up an update on progress and feed in your own thoughts to the discussion and how the sector can support this growth area.
11.45 - 12.30 - Co-operation amongst co-operatives
Dr Sarah Alldred, Co-operative College - Dr Amanda Benson, Co-operative College - Paul Cocker, Co-operative College - Abbie Kempson, Unicorn
The co-operative movement is a global movement, touching the lives of billions of people across both the global north and south. The UK-based Co-operative College has been working in the field of International Co-operative Development for over 16 years. Based on this experience, they have a strong sense of the unique place co-operatives have in creating sustainable, fair and equitable communities across the global south. This workshop will showcase examples of the ICA, European and UK work in the field of International Co-operative Development, before moving into a wider consultation about how the UK co-operative movement can support co-operatives in the global south, as an act of solidarity.
11.45 - 12.30 - The future of responsible finance
Maarten Rooney, Singlify - Robert Kelly, ABCUL - James Moore, Community Savings Bank Association - Paul Kalinauckas, Responsible Finance (chair)
Whilst the finance sector is operating globally with the development of a burgeoning ‘fintech’ sector, there is still the need for locally based solutions - whether these are credit unions or the development of new community-based banks. This session will explore a changing market and the role co-operative and credit unions should be playing.
11.45 - 12.30 - How community co-operatives are making a real impact in their places
John Haines, Projekts MCR - James Newton, Leeds Community Homes - James de le Vingne, Co-operatives UK (chair)
Every co-op should have a concern for their community, and married with our ability to raise finance we can make a real impact where it is needed most. Listen to different approaches to raising community shares to achieve community impact. Then take part in an interactive discussion to learn, share and be inspired.
13.30 - 14.15 - Expanding employee and worker ownership through start-ups and conversions
Damon Horrill, Cornerstone Inns - Polly Robbins, Outlandish - Sandy Lindsey MBE, Tangerine Communications & The Juice Academy - Keely Lead, Employee Ownership Association
The New Economics Foundation suggests that there are around 120,000 family-run enterprises in the UK expected to undergo a transfer of ownership in the next three years. If just 5% of these businesses were supported to make the transition to co-operative ownership, then the number of businesses in the sector would almost double. Meanwhile, government has encouraged 120,000 people to go it alone in business through the New Enterprise Allowance since 2011 - imagine if just 5% had been given the opportunity to explore their co-op options?
13.30 - 14.15 - How do we reconnect to the communities that need us the most?
Jess Thomas, Co-operatives UK - John Atherton, Co-operatives UK - Sacha Bedding, Wharton Trust
175 years ago we forged a community-led movement based on values of equity, honesty and solidarity. It spread all over the globe touching the lives of billions. But something has gone astray. We are starting co-ops in diverse sectors from community shops to creative industries but few of these are in the very communities that gave birth to us, that speak to them and their needs. This interactive session is to critique us, challenge us and ultimately change us so we can reconnect to the working class communities like Rochdale and Hartlepool where we belong.
13.30 - 14.15 - Advice surgery
Tim Knowles, Co-operatives UK - Emma Laycock, Co-operatives UK
From worker-owned co-ops to major high street retailers, our advice team know the co-operative sector inside out. We provide value-for-money legal, HR and governance advice and support from co-op experts. And because we are non-profit making, all income goes back into providing services for our members. This informal surgery gives you to chance to find out more about the professional advice available from Co-operatives UK and have input into the services we provide with the chance to chat to our friendly team.
13.30 - 14.15 - Using your identity to stand out from the crowd
Helen Carroll, The Co-op - Nathalie Spencer, Suma - Sheree Hatton, Suma - Wendy Carter, Co-operatives UK (chair)
Every business needs an edge, a differentiator in a crowded market. The one thing our competitors can’t copy is our identity, our ownership, our focus on member benefit not profit maximisation. Learn about two very different organisations' approach to branding and marketing - worker-owned wholesaler Suma and consumer-owned retailer, The Co-op - then take part in an interactive discussion to learn, share and be inspired.
14.15 - 15.00 - Educating the next generation of co-operators
Johnny Gordon-Farleigh, Stir to Action - Tanya Noon, Central England Co-op - TBC, Co-operative College - Gauthire Guerin, Co-operatives UK
With the recent launch of the long held dream of establishing a Co-operative University we take a look at other ways the movement is engaging young people in co-operation. From the newly formed Student Co-op Homes, to school-based co-op masterclasses, ‘native millennial’ organisation Stir to Action and the work the Co-operative College carries out as champions for co-operative education, find out how you can support this fundamental co-op principle.
14.15 - 15.00 - Policy surgery
James Wright, Co-operatives UK
Our focus on influencing government can create better conditions for co-op formation and growth. Recent wins include the FCA launching an online portal and abolishing some unhelpfully high fees, the creation of a £10m fund for co-operative farmers and support for community co-ops in government's Civil Society Strategy. We're currently campaigning for better support for worker ownership and community economic development. But with finite resources and a packed political agenda, where should we be focusing our efforts to have the most impact for members? Come along to this informal session with Policy Officer James Wright to hear about current priorities and influence the direction of travel for vital policy activity.
14.15 - 15.00 - Co-op connections - membership surgery
John Atherton, Co-operatives UK - Irena Pistun, Co-operatives UK - Gareth Wright, Co-operatives UK
Co-operatives UK is a network of over 700 co-operatives, made up of thousands of practitioners. Learn about our plans for connecting members with each other, feed in your ideas and help us develop more member-focused services and activity to help co-ops connect.
14.15 - 15.00 - Using technology and a digital mind-set to survive in a rapidly changing world
Dan Stanley, Apparatus - Stephen Gill, Co-op Exchange - Tim Davies, Co-op Ventures - Paul Murphy, Co-operatives UK (chair)
Technology is playing an increasing role in co-op businesses, not just in the infrastructure and services we provide, but the mindset and approach to meeting members’ needs and developing new products. Listen to three very different approaches to developing new digital based services and using technology effectively to tackle a range of issues from simplifying the co-op start up process to raising finance to help co-ops scale up.
15.30 - 17.00 - Ideas into action
Ed Mayo, Co-operatives UK
Congress provides the opportunity to connect and learn from a diverse range of co-ops and is often the place where the spark of an idea is formed. In previous years it was the catalyst for the creation of Student Co-op Homes and the collaboratively produced National Co-op Development Strategy. This interactive session aims to capture some of the ideas and inspiration which has come out of the day, to gather feedback on how to turn these ideas into action and to agree which activities to prioritise! Arguably the most important session of the day, your active participation will ensure we capture what we've collectively learned and make the most out of this valuable opportunity to co-operate.