This area of our business covers legal issues, including governance, as well as ensuring our members are fully engaged in the running of our business – and in a co-operative like ours, that is essential.
Legal, Governance and Membership is specialised work, and though The Co-Operative Head Office recruits and offers job vacancies for people with a wide range of backgrounds and experience, typical roles include Lawyers, Membership Officers or Governance Secretaries.
The scale, scope and breadth of our business activities, coupled with an ongoing programme of acquisitions and disposals, means this large and highly qualified team of lawyers is called upon to support an impressive range of business initiatives and projects: anything from providing regulatory advice through to buying a chain of pharmacies. Our blend of specialisms is equally broad, but all have one thing in common: a strong ethical and commercial focus.
As a Co-operative, we are democratically run, and our 5.5 million members have a key part to play in decision-making. Our brief is to encourage and support their active participation. As well as training and assisting our member representatives on Committees and for other board meetings, we also engage with our members in the community. We do this by organising conferences and community events on issues such as Healthy Eating, Fairtrade and animal welfare, as well as by communicating by post and online.
The focus of this award-winning team is on ensuring The Co-operative Group (all 500 subsidiaries) and Co-operative Financial Services fulfil their obligations in terms of corporate governance and regulatory compliance: in other words, that we work legally and ethically in everything we do. Our work includes supporting the Board of Directors, organising the Annual General Meeting, circulating papers and preparing minutes. Winner of the award for Most Effective Shareholder Communication in 2007, we have also more recently won the 2010 Company Secretarial Team of the Year award at the ICSA Awards.