Your Voice on the Co-op Board

Please Vote for Me as your Number One Choice

As a Co-op Member you now have the chance to Vote for your Member Nominated Director to make sure your views are heard and acted upon by the Co-op Board. For the last year I have been working for you, raising the issues you have told me you care about and pushing for action and change.

  • I want our colleagues to have the best Pay and Rewards package in Retail

  • I want us to use every pound of our buying power to create jobs and apprenticeships and support other Co-ops and local small  businesses

  • I want to open up our democracy to many more young people by reducing the £1000.00 spend to stand for office

  • I want our Fairtrade goods to be available in every store

I have been to every Board meeting and every Members Council where MNDs were invited, I have visited stores regularly and have met colleagues from every part of our business to get their insight on what needs to change to improve our plans to Rebuild and Renew our Co-op.

But  it’s not just the last year that counts.I have been an active Co-operator for 30 years, I was a member of the Co-op Comission in 2001, took the first ever Co-op and Social Enterprise Strategy through Government  in 2007 and in 2013 I helped to put the Social Value Act on the Statute Book. I am a volunteer Director of Aspire, a new Health and Social Care Co-op in Salford, and I am helping more  Co-ops access funding through Social investment.

I want to continue to use all my experience, energy and committment as a lifelong co-operator to work for all of you to help Rebuild our Co-op in line with the Values and principles of our Founders so we can not only be proud of our history but of our future too.

  • With thanks toMark Crumlin the brilliant store manager at Myrtle Street store in Liverpool and his fantastic bakery

Good news for the Co-op and the Co-op Party

I am delighted that the Co-op Group Board is recommending that the Co-operative Party subscription is approved at this year’s AGM on 21 May, and recommending that Co-op Group members vote to support it.

To me, as a Member Nominated Director on the Board, this is a very welcome decision and one which I have consistently promoted. If supported by members at the AGM, it will reaffirm and renew our historic, democratic partnership with the Co-operative Party.

I have been a Co-op Party member for more than 25 years and I know how important the Party’s work is.

The Co-op is more than just a business and our partnership with the Party is one of the ways we show it.

Because we believe in changing society, it is right that the Co-op supports engagement in the democratic and political process, at the same time as we set an example as Britain’s leading ethical business.

The Party’s policy work and engagement with national and local government has been vital in creating a better environment for all co-operatives and growing the co-operative movement. I believe the Co-op Group, as Britain’s biggest co-op, is absolutely right to support this work, not just in our own business interests, but in the interests of all Co-ops.

The Board’s decision is being communicated to Co-op Group members, asking  them to support Motion 12 under the heading ‘Approving our political spending on things like subscriptions and donations to parties.’  Online and postal voting starts on Thursday 21st April for members who are not attending the AGM in Manchester in person.

The Members Council is also supporting the recommendation, and, like the Council and the Board, I hope members will use their votes to support this important element of our co-operative democracy.

Co-op Members Speaking Out

Over the last four weeks I have travelled across the country to listen to the views and concerns of Coop Members at our Members Meetings in Liverpool, London, Brighton and Glasgow. Many apologies to those Members I didn’t get to meet in person but I hope the short video of your Member Nominated Directors helped a little.
It was a pleasure to meet so many Members and Colleagues and to share some of the good news on the steady progress of our Coop Society. Food is continuing to do well, growing strongly with more new and refurbished stores and beating many of our competitors with better products and lower prices on fresh food and also on meat and fish coming very soon.
Our funeral service is also doing well and the introduction of our simple and dignified funeral at a more affordable cost has been warmly welcomed. This is one of the things I am most proud of as too many families are struggling to meet the high cost of burying their loved ones.
Insurance and legal services are improving and the way we responded to the recent Cumbrian floods with immediate help and ongoing support was fantastic and much appreciated by Members.
The main issues raised with me were around the still too large variations in the quality, range and service in our stores and we clearly still have a way to go to make sure we meet consistently excellent standards everywhere.
Colleagues were also concerned about safety and security in some areas and it is right that everyone should feel safe working in our Coop. I will ensure this continues to be a priority for the Board.
We discussed Fairtrade, ethical standards and local sourcing of food and other purchasing and I am pushing for more social impact from all of our purchasing to support local jobs and communities.
Young members told me about their difficulties in standing for office due to the trading requirements and I am working with the Coop Young members Board to make some changes which will encourage younger members to get involved and make their voices heard.
Let me know what you think about our Coop
So an amazingly busy few weeks but all good stuff. If you couldn’t get to one of the Meetings but want me to take up an issue or just listen to your views please do post something back to me.
I love being the voice of Members on our Board and making sure we Rebuild our Coop in line with our Values and Principles so please do get in touch.

(Picture Hazel and June Morrison promoting Fairtrade at Glasgow)
All v best
Hazel

Social Value

hazelblears

Hello everyone and welcome to my Coop Directors blog. I hope to be able to keep Members and Colleagues up to date with current issues and I am keen to hear from you.

Our Fairtrade activity makes a tremendous impact on communities all over the world. We will rightly be celebrating this fantastic work in Fairtrade Fortnight in March but we can also do similar brilliant work here at home.

Some of you may have heard of the Social Value Act which I helped to take through Parliament when I was an MP. This encourages the creation of Social, Economic and Environmental Impact in communities by using procurement and supply chains in more creative ways.

This is a perfect way for our Coop to make a real difference in our communities by making sure every pound we spend on purchasing is working hard to create local jobs, support local suppliers…

View original post 256 more words

Social Value

Hello everyone and welcome to my Coop Directors blog. I hope to be able to keep Members and Colleagues up to date with current issues and I am keen to hear from you.

Our Fairtrade activity makes a tremendous impact on communities all over the world. We will rightly be celebrating this fantastic work in Fairtrade Fortnight in March but we can also do similar brilliant work here at home.

Some of you may have heard of the Social Value Act which I helped to take through Parliament when I was an MP. This encourages the creation of Social, Economic and Environmental Impact in communities by using procurement and supply chains in more creative ways.

This is a perfect way for our Coop to make a real difference in our communities by making sure every pound we spend on purchasing is working hard to create local jobs, support local suppliers and build economic activity in areas which have been hard hit in recent times.

For example we currently have a national contract for refurbishing our stores which can mean contractors travelling long distances across the country to do the work. Why don’t we have local contracts so we can employ local joiners, plasterers, plumbers and tilers? This would provide much needed jobs and apprenticeships too and would also encourage local people to shop with us to support local firms. Everyone benefits and we bring our COOP commitment to communities alive.

I met recently with the Heads of our food and non- food procurement groups and they are really enthusiastic about how we can use this approach to maximise the impact of our day to day spend and our longer term investment in the refurbishment of our stores.

I will be working with them with the support of the Board over the next six months to come up with some more practical proposals which we can implement quickly and embed in our mainstream activity.

My experience in promoting Social Value which many local Councils now use for their procurement is that it doesn’t have to cost more and can achieve extra from the same investment. If we can create more jobs and support more local suppliers we can make a real COOP Difference which is after all what we are here to do.

Please do let me know what you think of this approach and any local examples you would like me to take up.

Hazel Blears