Co-operative calls on members to stand in historic Board and Council elections

06 February 2015

The Co-operative Group today calls on its members to play a direct role in the future of the organisation by standing in the first ever elections for the newly formed Group Board and Council.

The elections will allow Co-operative Group members to help shape the future of the 150 year old organisation and the lives of its 8 million members and the communities in which they live.

Nominations have opened for both the 100 strong national Members’ Council and the Group Board following the approval of far-reaching governance reforms in August last year. The new Council will be responsible for ensuring The Co-operative’s values and principles are upheld and will scrutinise the Board’s decisions. In addition to the Council elections, nominations are also being sought to fill the three seats allocated to members on the Group’s new Board - Member Nominated Directors (MNDs).

The Council and new Group Board are integral parts of The Co-operative Group’s new democratic structure, which provides members with a direct vote and the opportunity to stand for election to the new national bodies.

The constitutional reforms have been designed to strengthen the experience and professionalism of the Group’s governance and ensure better accountability to the Society’s millions of members.

The Group Chair, Ursula Lidbetter, said as nominations opened: 

“This is a historic moment for The Co-operative Group and the wider Co-operative movement. The Group is beginning a three-year rebuild and we are putting in place a Board with the right skills and experience to govern that change. As Group Board directors, our three MNDs will, collectively with other Board members, be responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Group and safeguarding the interests of all our members.”

Lesley Reznicek, President of the transitional member Council, added:

“This is a truly exciting opportunity for our members to take an active role in the recovery of a great British business. It’s a fundamental aspect of all Co-ops that their members are represented at the highest levels of the business and that their interests and concerns are central to decision making. The Council and the three Member Nominated Board Directors will provide that guarantee”

A further aspect of the governance reforms also begins today with the ability of members to propose motions to be considered at the Group’s next AGM. Members have until 13 March 2015 to put forward motions that could come before the AGM for a vote by the membership of the Group.

Potential candidates can register on the membership website  The closing date for nominations is 25 February 2015.

For Further Information:

Russ Brady – 07880 784442 The Co-operative Group
Susanna Voyle / Jonathan Sibun – 0207 353 4200 Tulchan 

Notes to Editors

The Co-operative Group, which is the UK’s largest co-operative business with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services, has a clear purpose of “championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities”. Owned by millions of UK consumers, The Co-operative Group operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 employees and an annual turnover of approximately £11 billion.

Members wishing to stand for election to the new posts have until 25 February 2015 to put forward their names. All candidates must demonstrate their commitment to The Co-operative way of doing business through at least three-years of Co-op Group membership and by passing a threshold of spend with our family of businesses during the last financial year. In the case of Member Nominated Directors to the Group Board, additional criteria will be applied ensuring the highest professional standards among candidates.

Member Council

The Member Council’s role is primarily to hold the Group Board to account for the performance of the business and adherence to Co-operative Values and Principles.

The Council will be composed of a maximum of 100 Members and is led by a President, elected for a term of two years and a Senate, elected by the Council, to help co-ordinate the activities of the Council and to act as a link for interactions between the Council, the Board, the Executive and members                                                                

Group Board

The Group Board is responsible for determining the strategy for The Group, consistent with the Purpose and the Values and Principles and meeting the needs of its members and hold the Executive to account in the performance of its duties.

The Group Board will be comprised of a majority of Independent Directors.  This will include; an Independent Chair, five Independent Non-Executive Directors, two Executive Directors, including the Group Chief Executive and three Member Nominated Directors.

All Board Directors will be expected to meet the high standards of competence commensurate with the needs of a business of the scale and complexity of the Group and a demonstrated commitment to Co-operative Values and Principles.