Guide: Our governance

Our governance - and how to get involved

Co-operatives UK is a secondary co-operative owned and controlled by our members, all of which are co-operatives or organisations that support co-operative values and principles. Members are the lifeblood of co-operatives, and it is the participation of co-operatives across the UK that makes Co-operatives UK a strong organisation.

Our election cycle for 2020 is now complete. For results and information on how the process works head over to our elections page

The co-operative values and principles are enshrined in our Rulebook, which provides the foundation for our governance practices and is supported by our standing orders and other procedures.

Our annual general meeting (AGM) was held online ONLY in 2020. For governance advice (with input from the FCA) on holding your co-op's AGM online see here.  

Our membership categories reflect the different types or organisations we have as members: consumer co-operatives, worker co-operatives, enterprise owned co-operatives, mixed ownership co-operatives, Co-operative Development Bodies, federations, mutuals and associates. Co-operatives UK was incorporated under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act in 1869, now known as Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act.We currently have more than 700 co-operatives in direct membership, from high street retailers to community owned pubs, fan owned football clubs to farmer controlled businesses. We also have federal members that represent sectors such as credit union, community shops and housing co-operatives that are members indirectly.


We encourage all members to help shape our activities. As well as engaging in campaigns and events, Co-operatives UK offers a number of ways to direct our work:

  • Stand for election to the Board of Directors. Board members are elected on a three-year rolling cycle. The current election process for new board members is underway. Discover more here or contact [email protected]  
  • Vote for the Board of Directors. All members have a say in who is elected to the board and we run elections to some Board seats each year
  • Submit formal resolutions to be considered at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). These must be submitted to the Co-operatives UK Secretary 10 weeks prior to the AGM  
  • Attend the AGM. The AGM provides an opportunity to share views, vote on formal resolutions and hear reports from members of Co-operatives UK's Board and Management Team. The 2020 AGM took place on Friday 19 June. Due to COVID-19 the meeting was held online only..Wattch a recording of the agm here
  • Participate in a strategic members’ group to help shape areas of strategic priority. Co-operatives UK leads and facilitates members’ groups on key issues and sectors including finance, governance and worker co-operatives