Induction to the Co-op National Members Council

What is induction
Induction is the introduction to the Members’ Council that all newly elected Council Members get. It’s this basic training which explains how the Council’s systems work and how the Council works with the rest of the business. The induction process also helps people who are fairly new to co-operation to understand this new world of IPNEDS and MNDs meeting with NMC VPs on the Senate! It started on the Friday afternoon and finished at lunchtime on the Sunday. The re-elected Council Members already know how the Council works, so they didn’t need to be inducted. On the Saturday evening we did get the chance to meet some more experienced Council Members over dinner and they were very keen to tell us about their work.

The tour
Entering One Angel Square is a bit like entering a space station: everything is very new and modern, it’s all very shiny with lots of viewing windows, it’s so vast that a small community could live in there, and they’re always trying to discover new things. The good news is that the natives are friendly! We started at the top of the building and worked our way down, one circuit of rooms and open plan offices at a time, until we reached our meeting room on one of the lower floors

Co-ops UK
Next on our tour was a chance to meet the officers at Co-ops UK, they support and represent co-operatives and their business model. They told us all about the Rochdale Pioneers who wrote the co-operative values and principles that we use today. They also took a quick photo of us with a cardboard clock for Co-operatives Fortnight.

Secure area and social media
The secure area is where they keep papers that they want Council members to have but don’t want to publish for all the world to see – sorry Tesco! Social media was less of a serious-faces type session, with a social media community manager who gained a small fan club during his fun but practical talk.

Business unit leaders
We heard from senior members of management, from the different businesses within the Co-op, for a large part of Saturday. They were clearly proud of their businesses and explained what they were doing through a mix of charts, data, and practical examples. We also got to ask questions during and after the presentations. Some questions covered what we’d seen in the charts while others were based on Members own experiences with the Co-op.

What we’re doing next
There are lots of things happening in the Co-op that most members only get to see the results of. That membership relaunch last year was able to happen because of the creative and planning units which can only be seen in stores through the changes they produce. Unfortunately for the Co-op’s retail rivals, I can’t say what they said, but it was good to hear about the working groups in these areas that Council Members can join and influence.

As I left Angel Square these mods rode past on mass!

Next time… My first Members’ Council meeting!