A hefty envelope has just arrived through the letterbox. It’s a ballot paper and explanatory booklet for me to exercise my right as a member of Midcounties cooperative to vote for members of its Board of Directors.
Midcounties is one of the UK’s regional consumer cooperative societies, independent of the giant Co-operative Group although sharing with the Group the national cooperative branding. (I’ve written previously in more detail about Midcounties and its chief executive Ben Reid.)
Although I live outside the area of England where Midcounties operates its shops, I have chosen to become a member because I buy my electricity and gas through its subsidiary Co-operative Energy. Midcounties generally has a strong reputation as one of the UK’s more innovative and entrepreneurial coop societies, and its venture into power supply is an example of this.
It deserves a pat on the back for encouraging member democracy. No less than 16 people have put themselves forward for one of the five directorships to be filled this year. I’ll have to read the candidates’ statements carefully of course… but what a pleasant contrast with, say, the usual situation with Building Society elections where Board places are generally uncontested.