Narrative reporting

A narrative reporting framework has been developed to help co-operatives report to their members. It offers guidance on one of the most important aspects of running a successful co-operative organisation – large or small.

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.

The framework is flexible, 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. At its core, the new framework for co-operatives focuses on the uniqueness of the co-op model.

Narrative reporting – the framework

The model reflects a ‘principles’ based approach rather than being prescriptive in nature and each co-operative should choose those areas of the framework that will particularly resonate with its members using the model as an ‘options menu’ for developing best practice narrative reporting.

Good narrative reporting is all about telling a unique and compelling story of a co-operative in a clear and meaningful way for its members. The graphic below outlines the main principles of narrative reporting. 


Finance training

We offer one-day training, including an understanding co-op finance course – find out more.

The Co-operative Performance Committee

The framework has been developed by the Co-operative Performance Committee (CPC) – one of Co-operatives UK’s member groups. The CPC is made up of senior finance leaders from the co-operative sector which provides strategic direction and best practice guidance in matters of accounting, financial reporting and business performance monitoring. Find out more about the CPC...

Updated: 26/03/2019