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Governance support

Head of advice Emma Laycock

From worker-owned co-ops to major high street retailers to community pubs, our advice team know the co-operative sector inside out. Our advice can often be a fraction of the price of commercial professional advisers. And because we are owned by our members, all income goes back into providing services for our members.


Bespoke professional advice

Some of our most popular services are outlined below:

Board and director evaluations

  • An effective board and high performing directors are key to good governance and creating strong and sustainable co-ops. We can work closely with your board to carry out an evaluation on its effectiveness. You will receive a comprehensive and independent report outlining areas of excellence and development for your board. We can help you draw up an action plan to enable your board to be the best it can be.
  • Our experts can work with your board to undertake a review of its individual directors skills, experience and knowledge. Each director will be asked to assess their own performance against agreed criteria. We will provide a comprehensive report that will provide details on each director outlining areas of excellence and development and training needs. 
Unsure how we can help?
We will provide a free, five-minute assessment for Co-operatives UK members to identify the most suitable support.

Facilitated business workshops

  • We offer workshop facilitation to support your co-op to make important decisions about its future.
  • This might be facilitating a business strategy workshop or board away day, or facilitating a workshop to deal with a particular issue such as your board composition or whether to merge with another organisation. We will enable a systematic and objective process and can provide a write up of the session and a report recommending associated next steps.
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Becoming a charitable CBS (community benefit society) can be a little daunting when you are completely new to this area. Every contact I had with representatives of Co-operatives UK, both before we decided to engage their services and after, was professional, swift and precise. I would recommend using them for any organisation considering becoming a CBS, a co-op or similar.
– Steve Marshall, Climate Psychology Alliance.

Charity registrations

We provide advice on charity registration, including assisting with applications to the relevant charity registrar and HMRC. If you are an organisation thinking about registering as a charity or an existing charity looking to amend your governing document, contact us to discuss your needs.

Other services

We can also help with:

  • Reviewing your governing documents and/or policies
  • Governance health checks and compliance with the governance code
  • Finance expertise ranging from advice on dividend payments and accounting for co-operative shares to tax reliefs and audit requirements
  • HR support - from supporting with tribunals, employment law, mediation and much more,
  • We can also help you develop membership and marketing strategies


Our one-day training courses cover co-op finance, HR, training for directors and secretaries and much more. They can be run in-house at your co-op or join an existing course held at locations across the UK. Check out our training programme.

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Co-operatives UK really helped get us get going with practical advice... My only regret was not contacting them sooner.
– Neil Cuthbert, Public Affairs Co-op
Our value for money contact package gives you access to expert advice up to 10 times a year

Why use Co-operatives UK's advice services?

  • Co-operative expertise: Our advice team has supported co-operatives with their governance, HR, finance and membership for more than 20 years. We have developed an in depth understanding of how to support you in meeting the unique challenges and opportunities of this sector.
  • High quality service: We are owned by our members, meaning that all generated income is put back into providing market leading services for members.
  • Value for money: We work with co-operatives large and small, from a range of sectors and complexities, providing high quality and high value advice.
Is your co-op a member?
Co-operatives UK members receive 20% discount on all our advice services

Directors toolkit

Member content
The directors toolkit is a comprehensive series of resources for inducting directors onto a co-operative board.  This toolkit has been collated as part of work being undertaken by the Co‑operative…
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