Press release

Worker Co-operative Code of Governance Launch

The Worker Co-operative Code of Governance, produced by Co-operativesUK and experts from the worker co-operative sector, sets out how to successfully run and govern a workers' co-operative.

Corporate governance is an increasingly important issue in business today and nowhere more so than in co-operatives. As member-owned businesses, co-operatives have a long tradition of involving people in the business and ensuring corporate transparency.

The launch of a code specifically written for the worker co-operative sector marks a new chapter in good corporate governance for co-operatives.

In the UK there are more than 400 independent worker co-operatives employing approximately 2,000 workers. Worker co-operatives are businesses that are owned and democratically controlled by their members using co-operative principles. They are an attractive and increasingly relevant alternative to traditional investor owned models of enterprise.

The code was launched at Co-operatives 2008 in Blackpool by Bob Cannell of Suma and Ruth Chapple of Cycle Training UK, along with members of the working group that developed the code in conjunction with Co-operativesUK.

Speaking at the launch, Bob Cannell said: 'This code brings together the fundamentals of worker co-operative governance for the first time. Based on the seven co-operative principles agreed by the International Co-operative Alliance in 1995, it explains how to use these principles to both run your business and govern your co-operative successfully.'

The Code of Governance has been developed over the last two years based on practical experience from worker co-operatives and will be freely available with supporting resources.

John Atherton, Worker Co-operative Development Officer at Co-operativesUK, said: 'Co-operativesUK will be sending copies of the code to all worker co-operatives in the UK and we expect this document to become the standard that all worker co-operatives use to measure their governance. This is the first implementation of the international world declaration on worker co-operatives and we have already received interest from Europe and internationally.'