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Practitioners Forum programme

Practitioners Forum 2022 – 23 November, Manchester

Join us at our number one training and development event - Practitioners Forum - on Wednesday 23 November at The Studio in Manchester.

The number one training and development event for people working in co-operative businesses – big and small – Practitioners Forum is an annual sell-out. We've around 20 sessions across five specialist forums covering membership, governance, finance, HR and communications.

Highlights include

  • Membership: Filling the membership void – attracting younger members
  • Governance: Improving diversity in the boardroom; legal update from Anthony Collins Solicitors
  • Finance: Technical update from KPMG, and cyber security for co-operatives
  • HR: Supporting members, colleagues and workers through the cost-of-living crisis
  • Communications: Creating successful email campaigns; getting the most out of your social media

Click the dropdown menus for details of sessions in each forum. Delegates aren't limited to one forum; they can mix and match sessions across the full day.

Get your tickets

Filling the membership void – attracting younger members

What do our members want and what opportunities are we offering them – now and in the future? We'll explore these important questions in the context of younger members as well as looking at how to engage a younger audience – and the value of research (after all, we don't know what we don't know). And once you've got them, how do you keep them? This will be an interactive session with plenty of delegate participation.

GDPR rules are changing

Remember when inboxes were full of updated privacy notices and data protection policies? General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is changing again, including stricter content requirements. How will this affect the way we interact with our members - and store their data? Join our GDPR session to find out how the new rules will affect your co-operative.  

More forum details to follow.

Get on board with diversity, equity and inclusion

What are the benefits and how do you ensure your board is diverse and inclusive? A diverse board has been shown to improve the quality and objectivity of the decision-making process by bringing new voices to the table, to the debate and to the decisions. Diversity also fosters innovation. Join us to explore the steps required to help co-operative boards reflect the make up and needs of their membership. 

Younger voices in the boardroom

This session is all about involving younger people in co-operative governance (including on co-op boards). But how do you attract a more youthful presence (and indeed why should you)? Delegates will hear from co-operatives that have given a voice to younger members and how it has worked for them.

Legal update from Anthony Collins Solicitors

A firm favourite at Practitioners Forum, experts from Anthony Collins Solicitors will run through the changes in law most pertinent to you and your co-operative's governance.  

GDPR rules are changing

Remember when inboxes were full of updated privacy notices and data protection policies? General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is changing again, including stricter content requirements. How will this affect the way we interact with our members - and store their data? Join our GDPR session to find out how the new rules will affect your co-operative.  

Accounts and financial reporting - what you need to know for 2023

KPMG's tax and accounting experts will provide a technical update on emerging developments in accounting, reporting and regulatory requirements, coupled with any updates on UK tax law.

Cyber security for co-operatives

With increasingly clever technology, scams and breaches, cyber security is a concern for all business – large and small. In this session we will explore the latest trends and how to spot them; how to arm your colleagues with cyber security awareness, so as not to get caught out; and critically, why co-operatives have additional risks to consider.

This session is being delivered by Tim Robinson of Crowe LLP, a public accounting, consulting and technology firm with offices around the world.

Raise finance with a community shares offer

With more than £200 million raised over the last decade, community shares are coming of age. Could this unique form of finance work for your co-operative? Join this interactive session to hear about the community shares market (including recent share offer examples) and also the support on offer.

Led by Co-operatives UK's Head of Market Development, John Dawson, this is an opportunity to explore whether community shares would work for your co-operative. Ask questions and join in the discussion about this unique form of raising investment alongside building an active membership base

More forum details to follow.

Along with an employment law update, the HR stream follows a theme covering the financial pressures co-operatives and their employees/workers/members are facing. 

Employment law update

Emma Bagshaw, of employment law and HR specialists Seabury Legal, will examine recent and upcoming changes in employment law and implications for businesses. The spotlight will focus on areas having most impact on co-operative businesses - especially now we have a new Prime Minister and Cabinet in place.

Supporting employees through the cost-of-living crisis

The cost-of-living crisis is beginning to bite even deeper and has serious implications for employers and employees. Ken Mulkearn, of Incomes Data Research, will examine the key issues for HR/pay decision-makers in the year ahead. Ken will look at official measures of low pay (Voluntary Living Wage and National Living Wage) and where they're headed. He'll also explore what employers have been doing to help employees in terms of pay, benefits and wider conditions (and associated benefits for employers as well as employees).

In this informative session, Ken will also look at projections for 2023 in terms of economy, infllation and labour market outlooks.

In-work poverty

In-work poverty IS a thing. And as the cost-of-living increases, with inflation and the fuel crisis just two factors, it's likely to become even more prevalent and will impact on employees and the workplace. In this session we'll examine the steps employers can take to avoid/mitigate the in-work poverty phenomenon.

Pay outlook 2023

A look ahead at the world of reward for next year.

Get socially aware: Social media trends with a focus on TikTok 

Dan Slee, Trainer and consultant, Dan Slee C2 Ltd

Whether it's Facebook kittens, Twitter debates or Instagram filters, the world is hungry for content on social media. And better content means better engagement. So, what does your audience want to see, like and share? With good planning, clever strategy and targeted scheduling, putting the right content in front of the right people doesn't need to be a shot in the dark.

Delegates will emerge form this session with the tools to create a social media strategy. This session will also include a focus on engaging young people and using the platform TikTok.

Dan Slee is a digital communications specialist and experienced trainer. Clients have included Dublin City Council, Punch Taverns, McDonalds, UK Government Foreign Office, MacMillan Cancer and Manchester City Council.

You've got mail: Creating successful email campaigns

Tony Ball, CRM Campaigns and Innovations Manager, Co-op Group

Have you ever just been told to "just send a quick mailer" to your co-op’s members?

For many co-operatives, email is one of the most important ways to connect with members and/or customers. A well crafted email, with the right content for the right audience is a fantastic way to engage with your audience. It can be targeted, cost-effective, measurable and impactful. But it's not always easy to get it right.

Learn the key rules for creating successful email campaigns – from impactful subject lines and good content, design and structure, to segmentation. You will leave inspired and equipped with the knowledge and skills to increase open and click-through rates!

Tony Ball has been working within Co-op Group’s CRM team for over 10 years, leading their work to curate engaging and impactful campaigns to its members. He has led on initiatives such as the DMA award-nominated Welcome programme, the implementation of eCommerce CRM, through to the development of “Always on” and triggered email campaigns to customers in Insurance. 

Producing the right marketing and communications strategy for your co-op

Dan Slee, Trainer and consultant, Dan Slee C2 Ltd

This session is all about producing a marketing and communications strategy fit for purpose for your co-op. It'll help define your audience alongside the other steps required to get the right message, to the right people, at the right time. 

So who is the audience? What's your unique selling proposition (USP)? What's the most appropriate channel to reach your audience? What's the messaging? And how do we know if we're successful? Leave this session with an understanding of what a strategy is, why it's important and a starting point for developing your own.

More forum content to follow.

Ticket information and booking
Civica – proud sponsors of Practitioners Forum 2022

This year's Practitioners Forum is sponsored by Civica, the UK’s leading provider of election services with over 100 years' experience of administering elections, ballots and consultation processes. Find out more.

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