Co-op sets out radical reforms



The Co-op has set out plans to complete a radical reform programme culminating in detailed proposals being put to a membership vote this September.

It could mean a shake-up in the running of the embattled food-to-funerals group being in place by this autumn.

But the Co-op is likely to face a stiffer test than the recent poll that gave unanimous support in principle for the reforms.

This time, delegates will have to agree on detailed plans on rule changes which must be supported by two-thirds - whereas the previous vote required only a simple majority to be passed.

Reforms have been drawn up by Lord Myners in the wake of a crisis at the food-to-funerals group that saw it slump to a £2.5 billion loss last year, the worst in its 150-year history - as it was dragged down by the near-collapse of its banking arm.

The former City minister has warned that it faces a bleak future unless it takes steps to replace its current "dysfunctional" board structure.

A meeting in Manchester last month gave backing to a four-part resolution, based on his report, which called for reforms including the establishment of a professionally-qualified board and the principle of "one member, one vote" for its millions of members.

Tonight, the group set out a timetable for completing the changes which will see consultation with its area committees, regional boards and independent societies taking place until the end of July.

It said: "The group plans to issue draft society rules mid-August for approval at a special general meeting to be held in early September."

The Co-op said it was expected the new rules would take effect "as soon as possible after approval".

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