Co-op has launched a recruitment drive across Oxfordshire, calling for new member representatives to have a say in the running of the group and its Food stores, funeral homes, Legal Services business and insurance arm.
Members’ Council leaders have said that they are especially interested in applications from members within under-represented societal groups this year, including those from ethnic minorities, candidates with disabilities and those from the LGBTQ+ community.
Across the UK, there are 24 vacancies on the Co-op National Members’ Council, which works closely with the board and senior managers to ensure the voice of all 4.23m active members is heard throughout the group. Louise Walker from Council’s Diversity Working Group is encouraging applications from those who will ensure the Council better reflects the diversity of Co-op’s members overall.
Louise said: “As a co-operative, we welcome applications from all eligible members, and I can’t stress that enough. In 2021, we proudly elected our first Black female president and are working especially hard to be more inclusive and build a Council which will find new ways to support all members, especially those who may feel marginalised or discriminated against in society.
“I’m really excited that these elections could bring critical new ideas and perspectives to what we do.”
Council representatives can serve a term between one and three years. The 100 people that make up the Council come from all walks of life and include ordinary members (people who trade with Co-op’s businesses); colleague members and members from independent co-operative societies. The Council continues to encourage all members to participate in Co-op governance, while educating, informing and planning how to champion Co-op’s ‘Co-operating for a Fairer World’ Vision. The Council was also one of the key enablers behind the ‘Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities’ campaign, to lobby for a change in legislation on safeguarding shopworkers, underpinned by investment from Co-op’s Food business in CCTV, body cameras, product security and training to protect frontline teams.
To qualify to stand for election as a Council representative, members need to have joined before January 2019 and have earned 500 membership points (the equivalent of spending around £10 a week on groceries in Co-op Food stores) between 3 January 2021 and 1 January 2022.
Candidates can find information at www.co-operative.coop/councilelection and can apply until midday on 25 February.