In response to emerging events, Co-operative Business Consultants are organising an independent conference – open to all and building on the success of a similar event held earlier this year. That conference demonstrated the need for co-operators to have the opportunity to freely discuss successes, weaknesses and alternative strategies on an equal footing, in a solution focused environment.
Key note speakers and workshop leaders include: Sir Graham Melmoth, former Chief Executive of the Co-operative Group 1996-2002, Meg Hillier MP, Paul Clarke, National Lead Organiser, GMB Union, Patrick Gray, Midcounties Co-operative, Peter Couchman, Plunkett Foundation, Jo Bird, Co-operative Business Consultants, Vivian Woodell, The Phone Co-op, Frances Coppola, financial writer, Iain Macdonald, former Director General, International Co-operative Alliance, Paul Gosling, independent finance columnist, Rosie Evered, Students for Co-operation, Dave Boyle, Principle Six, Andrew Bibby, journalist, Edgar Parnell, Co-op Pundit, Kevin Wan, North West Housing Services
Graham Melmoth (CEO Co-operative Group 1996 -2002) is speaking at the second of the Way Forward Conferences on 16 May 2014, having become dismayed and discouraged by the turn of events engulfing the Group and the startling deterioration in its financial situation and its governance in recent weeks. Inevitably, political capital is being made from it all in the media and elsewhere but Sir Graham thinks it’s time to take stock and for Board and Management seriously to listen to and engage with each other. People generally care about the Co-op; it is a quintessentially British institution and its members and the public at large want it to survive and so do the Group’s many thousands of employees. A number of official reports on the Group are shortly to hit the headlines focussing on different aspects of recent financial mismanagement and strategic errors. They will not make negotiating a viable future for the businesses any easier unless there is a coming together and a meeting of minds of all the parties involved. And that will take some doing and Graham’s contribution will focus on that obligation; it’s called co-operation.
What do we hope to achieve?
We believe a revitalised co-operative movement is possible. Ways Forward 2: Co-operative Renewal conference will provide space for honest and open debates necessary to face up to serious challenges and opportunities for co-operatives in the 21st century. The event features experienced speakers, best practice case studies, workshops, exhibition stalls, networking and open space.
The conference will concentrate discussion on several key challenges:
- Governance in co-operative businesses
- Investment in new and developing co-operative businesses
- Democratic, multi-channel, member engagement and control
- Sharing best practice and resources with the international co-operative movement
- Inter-trade between co-operatives
- Effective strategies for social inclusion with the co-operative movement
- Living wage and salary differentials
The Co-operative Group is trying to sell large sections of its businesses to the ‘only for profit’ private sector. How are members responding to this? Lord Myners has proposed fundamental reforms of decision making at the Co-operative Group. What other proposals are worth considering?
Who Should Attend?
Members of co-operatives, credit unions or trade unions
Tickets: £40 including VAT. Lunch and refreshments included. There are some bursary places for volunteers under 24, and co-operators based outside the UK. A late booking fee of £10 will be charged after 8th May.