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Page to explore the co-op structure for an Independent media support organisation

Proposal 0.2

A group of individuals is considering forming a Co-Op to offer web hosting services to grassroots media organisations.

We are interested to know what impact the organisational structure of the potential Co-Op has on that market.

Potential clients such as UK IMC could of course choose at a later date whether or not to use the services made availible by the co-op.

What we are interested to know is if in principle you would be interested in using our webhosting services.

The organisational features of the Proposed co-op are

  • 1. That the membership of the co-op is open and that decision making is by consensus.

  • 2. That the decision making of the co-op is done on a email list by a clearly defined set of procedures.

  • 3. That the co-op is a limited liability co-op registered by the Industrial & Provident Society (society for the benefit of the community)

  • 4. We still need to consult co-operatives UK about the management structure that best reflects the consensus decision making process but will only do so after some inital market research.


This proposal has been made on the basis of the 'select a structure' analysis that is availible from here: from

It helps you to identify the most appropriate legal structure for your venture. The details are availible here SelectAstructure

Results of analysis:


4. Company

6. Industrial & Provident Society (society for the benefit of the community)


        1. Community Business

C. MANAGEMENT STYLE xx all deleted- contact coops UK for further advice XX

D. OWNERSHIP 14. Common Ownership

Background on this proposal

A chronological list of emails to the process list on this subject.

Background on coop's

Co-operatives are democratic structures run on the basis of one member, one vote. They are open to all (though they have the power to veto new members). They confer limited liability on their members (Liability is limited to the value of the (normally) \xA31 share members receive on joining. Co-ops are able to receive donations. It is normally necessary to appoint a secretary and treasurer as a minimum, however co-ops can run with out a management committee - the general meeting normally being the decision body in that case. There are examples of co-ops who rules allow them to make decisions by electronic means such as mailing lists etc.

Co-operatives are organised with reference to the following values:

\xB7 Self-help

\xB7 Self-responsibility

\xB7 Democracy

\xB7 Equality

\xB7 Equity (fairness)

\xB7 Solidarity

These values reflect the ethic values of:

\xB7 Honesty

\xB7 Openness

\xB7 Social responsibility

\xB7 Caring for others

The following principles were adopted by the 1995 Centenary Congress of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). They reflect how the co-operative values are put into practice.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations open to all persons who qualify for membership and are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control

Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to their members. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

3. Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and control democratically, the capital of their co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion with their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities as approved by membership.

4. Autonomy and Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5. Education, Training and Information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, and employees so that they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6. Co-operation among Co-operators

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for the Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

More information about the International Co-operative Alliance and co-operatives in general is available from the website

-- MayleR - 14 Nov 2004
Topic revision: r6 - 19 Nov 2004, MayleR
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