A new framework to help co-operatives report to their members has been published today (16 November), offering guidance on one of the most important aspects of running a successful co-operative organisation.
Launched at the annual Practitioners Forum, the framework – which is flexible and offers guidance to co-ops large and small – is built around three core pillars that a co-op ought to report on:
- Member value: how it is delivering value to its members
- Member voice: how its members have directed the co-op
- Co-operative values: how it is living up to the co-operative values
It is intended, in particular, as guidance on how co-ops might structure their annual report to members, but offers a lense through which co-ops can view their wider member communications across the year.
The framework which can be downloaded here, has been developed by the Co-operative Performance Committee – one of Co-operatives UK’s member groups – and is based on ‘narrative reporting,’ a new approach to reporting which emphasises non-financial reporting as much as financial, that has become one of the hottest topics in the business reporting environment.
At its core, the new framework for co-operatives focuses on the uniqueness of the co-op model. Co-ops have often adopted the format and language of conventional companies in their annual reports, but in reality they differ significantly. Rather than reporting financial results to shareholders, co-ops need to be reporting a range of results to their members, who have a deeper set of concerns about the organisation than commercial performance alone.
“Co‑operatives exist to serve their members and so any narrative reporting they do should clearly articulate how the co‑operative is achieving that goal.
“This framework aims to provide direction for all co-ops on the format and content of their reporting. It has been developed to be applied by co‑operatives of all sizes and types. Each co‑operative can choose those areas of the framework that are particularly relevant for their members and use the model as a menu for developing best practice within their narrative reporting."
John Sandford, Chair of the Co‑operative Performance Committee