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The Co‑operative Governance Expert Reference Panel is recruiting two new members

Reference Panel

The Co‑operative Governance Expert Reference Panel is recruiting two new members following Silena Dominy's decision to step down and the opening of a new position. 

The Co‑operative Governance Expert Reference Panel is a member group led and facilitated by Co‑operatives UK and is made up of experts with proven experience in governance leadership and/or innovation covering businesses of different size, complexity and risk profile. 

The Panel regularly reviews its composition to ensure it reflects the current Co-operative Movement, types of co-operatives and the sectors that they operate in. As a result, the Panel has two vacancies that it is recruiting to fill:

Retail Consumer Co-operative expertise

Silena Dominy, Director of Corporate Affairs at Southern Co-operative, is standing down from the Panel as she steps away from her role at Southern Co-operative in March. Silena brings a wealth of expertise and experience in the field of retail consumer co-operative governance and will be greatly missed. The Panel is seeking applications from people with recent, relevant, expertise and experience in leadership and innovation in governance – with a specific focus on retail consumer co-operative governance. Holding a governance related post within a retail consumer co-operative would be desirable but not a requirement.

Former Panel member, Silena, said: "It has been a pleasure to be a member of the Co-operative Governance Expert Reference Panel over the last two years.  The role has built my knowledge of the co-operative sector and the governance within it.  

"Hearing and discussing governance experiences from other parts of the Movement has been extremely valuable and I hope that my sharing of practice from the perspective of retail consumer co-ops has been of equal value to other members.  

"Making a contribution to the materials produced by the Panel, and debating and determining how the Co-operative Corporate Governance Code should develop to best support the wider Movement has been rewarding."

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I would encourage governance professionals from retail consumer co-ops to consider applying as a Panel member as it is a great opportunity to contribute alongside a wide range of governance experts, to improve and advance governance in the Movement, and there is much to be gained from a personal perspective.
– Silena Dominy, Former Panel member

Community co-operative/community business expertise

The Panel is seeking applications to fill a new position on the Panel – specifically from people with recent and relevant expertise and experience of the governance and operation of community co-operatives/community businesses. The Panel has defined community co-operative as:

An organisation that is run primarily for the benefit of the community for which it is established. There may be other categories of membership, however the community members would be in the majority. This may be a community of interest or a geographical community. There should be clear democratic ownership and control mechanisms for members. Community co-ops may be registered using any legal form, including a community benefit society.

The number of community co-operatives is constantly increasing, now making up more than half of the membership of Co-operatives UK. The Panel believes it is important that we consider their governance needs and arrangements when producing guidance and best practice. 

Applicants may have experience of establishing, working for or advising community co-operatives, and will preferably have expertise covering a range of organisations and governance arrangements, including the use of community shares.

Existing Panel member, Co-operatives UK’s Emma Laycock said: "We are keen that membership of the Panel includes an individual with community co-operative expertise, not only because good governance in all forms of co-operatives and democratically owned organisations is vital, but also to provide a breadth of knowledge within the composition of the Panel. 

"The governance needs of community co-operatives can be quite different to those that are more mature, and the Panel needs to ensure that it considers all types and sizes of co-operatives when developing its guidance and best practice."

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Other types of co-operatives may well have lots to learn from the different governance practices and needs of community co-operatives. I would encourage anyone with community co-operative governance expertise to get in touch to discuss the role – we’d love to have you!”
– Emma Laycock, Existing Panel member, Co-operatives UK

About the Co‑operative Governance Expert Reference Panel

The Panel, which meets quarterly, enables Co‑operatives UK members to shape areas of strategic priority for the UK co‑operative movement in the field of governance. The Panel is the custodian of the governance agenda for co-operatives in the UK, and works to set governance standards for co‑operatives, encouraging innovation, active challenge and debate.

Read more about the Co‑operative Governance Expert Reference Panel's work.

Interested in applying to join the panel?

If you would like to under learn more about the Panel and what sort of candidate we’re looking for, please contact [email protected]. The deadline for applications is midnight, 9 February. 

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