Governance: The purpose of a co-operative

Great governance underpins a co-operative's purpose which is its reason for forming and continuing to exist and enables it to live its mission and vision, deliver its strategy and objectives and develop a healthy culture and strong values.

This section provides an overview of the 4 key elements that sets the framework to support the purpose of a co-operative.


Governing Document

Having a good, well structured governing document is key to laying the foundation for co-operative governance.  Whether it is referred to as the constitution, articles or rules, it is important that a co-operative's governing document is fit for purpose, up to date and reflects how the co-operative's current governance operates.

Mission and Vision

Every co-operative is formed for a particular purpose or purposes.  It is important for the Board, in consultation with the co-operative's stakeholders, to set out its co-operative's objectives and approach to meeting these in a mission and vision statement in order to focus resources and achieve success.

Strategy & Objectives

Every co-operative should plan for the future of its business. Having a clear business strategy that focuses on the long term goals of the co-operative will provide the check and balances the Board need in order to determine what success looks like.

Culture & Values

Fostering a healthy culture in a co-operative is key to its success. Creating an environment where your co-operative's people are motivated, challenged and rewarded are values that will enable them to work together to achieve, strive and reach towards their co-operative's success.


Also in this section 

The key elements of governance • An effective board • Operations and processes • Performance and roles • Members and participation


Governance training

We have a number of one-day training courses, including for co-op chairs, directors and secretaries. There is also the option for in-house training – find out more.


The Co-operative Governance Expert Reference Panel 

The Co-operative Governance Expert Reference Panel was established and co-ordinated by Co-operatives UK in response to a need for an independent and authoritative voice in the co-op sector for best practice in governance. It will continue to contribute best practice and resources to The Hive for for free as and when they become available. Read more about the Panel...

Updated: 11/01/2018