1. The corporatisation of large retail co-operative societies


Rita Machin, North West & North Midlands Region, Manchester Area Committee member, refers to a Guardian article which is an ‘indictment of the lack of transparency by the Cooperative Group’.

Alison Lamond, formerly Borders North Regional Membership Manager, says that our reputation has already suffered through bad decisions by our leadership, both in governance and senior employees. She concludes that the solution cannot be left to senior managers recruited from outside the movement. We need to establish an effective democracy that meets the needs and aspirations of our members.

Peter Lockley, Regional Council appointed Trustee of the Co-operative Foundation, was amazed that none of the serious concerns about the Britannia acquisition raised in group meetings in many areas were not heard at the Society AGM. He concludes that this proves that the governance model used by the Group is not working and therefore not fit for purpose.

Geraint Day, Institute of Co-operative Directors, writes about board capability, responsibility and culpability; he asks if our committee members cannot hold our elected directors and others to account, where on earth has the most fundamental principle and best practice of co-operatives gone?

David Smith, elected member, Co-operative Group, writing in his personal capacity, highlights one question: to what extent do most of the Group’s senior managers understand the basis of the model of enterprise that they are supposed to be running?

Dr Rita Rhodes, Co-operatives Research Unit, Open University, covers the impact of co-operative pension transfers, the absence of any expression of regret or responsibility for the crisis and asks whether democratic structures have survived sufficiently to retrieve the situation. She looks back at Alison Lamond’s words:

We cannot afford to enter another period where we simply operate as a mimic of a minor plc.

Source: Co-operative News, July  & August 2013

This entry was posted in Banking, Co-operative movement, Co-operative News, Democratic participation, Problems and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 1. The corporatisation of large retail co-operative societies

  1. brid coady weekes says:

    The Group (a pompous name, i think) has overreached itself in many instances over the past decade, at least. As a committee member I have opposed “gigantism” more and more mergers and takeovers by the Big Boys. And now the cooperative has achieved the near impossible the mistrust of most of the really involved, committed, membership. Shame on you members of the Group Board, especially the Chair and the CEO most particularly the most recent.

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