Choosing the President, Vice-President and Senate
The President of the Members’ Council, Nick Crofts, was easily re-elected with no-one choosing to stand against him. His victory before the other elections was welcome for two reasons: not only has he proven that he is rather good at the job, but it also meant less speeches!
The Vice-President role had three candidates, each with very different areas of knowledge and with good ideas for the future of the business. There was a similar amount of competition for the five places on the Senate, five places and 16 candidates. Each person who wanted the job was asked around 3 standard questions after their speech. They all had the same amount of time for questions, but some were quicker than others.
The President of the Members’ Council then gave Council Members a chance to ask him questions about what he’d been doing. The rest of the Senate and Vice-President elections would happen at the Council meeting the following day.
Questions for the Board
We had three members of the Board join us at the meeting to answer questions: Hazel Blears (Member Nominated Director), Stevie Spring (Independent Director) and Paul Chandler (Member Nominated Director). The questions and answers session lasted for about an hour, but the directors stayed-on afterwards to listen to us. Gareth Thomas, who has been newly elected as a Member Nominated Director also came to his first Council meeting.
I know it’d be better if I could include detailed questions and answers here, but there are a range of confidentiality concerns that mean I honestly can’t. What I can tell you is a list of subjects we asked questions about and that the directors responded to all of our questions.
The subjects we asked about included: an article about the Co-op and Nisa in the Co-op News, the future direction for Digital, and how we can strengthen our links with Fairtrade. Other subjects included how to make the Co-op’s meetings with members work as well as they can for members. We also asked what it might mean for the Co-op’s pensioners if the Co-op’s shareholding in the Co-operative Bank is reduced.
National Co-op Development Strategy
After two years of consultation, with 550 co-ops, Co-ops UK have completed their development strategy.
Dame Pauline Green explained how members of co-ops could let others know about
co-ops and help them to join-in this wonderful
movement of ours. Details of this strategy, including the technical report, can be found at: www.uk.coop/doit
Priority areas for this strategy area are:
- Supporting freelance workers to come together in their less secure lines of work.
- Finding co-operative solutions for current problems with social care.
- Creating new digital and online-based co-operatives.
An existing use of digital for co-ops is keeping track of the Co-op’s supply chain to keep modern slavery out of it. If you believe in co-ops then please tell your friends? If you don’t know what a co-operative is, please see this video:
Digital and Data
The acting Head of Co-op Digital, Steve Foreshew-Cain, started the Digital presentation with a summary of the team’s work. He told us about how Digital wasn’t just a department that does tech projects. Instead they work with the Co-op’s businesses and help them to meet members’ needs, in a world where far more is done online.
Food is digital, Insurance is digital, even Funeralcare is digital. It will be a long time before they can email-out hearses, but arrangements can be managed online to make sure that the right hearse is available when it is needed! You can learn more about Digital on their blog: https://digitalblog.coop.co.uk/
Other subjects covered and election results
Other topics included the reports of committees and engaging members.
Election results were given just before the end of the meeting:
Our Senate members:
Frank Nelson, Gavin Ewing, Jenny de Villiers, Martin Rogers and Tricia Davies.