Page 10 of the latest edition of Co-op News has an interesting headline: Tackling AGM crime.
It is, in fact, a spelling mistake. The story below the headline is about ATM (cash machine) crime.
On the other hand, perhaps there are AGM crimes in the co-operative world which we should be thinking about.
There’s the crime, for example, of putting up just the number of candidates for a co-operative board that are needed, so that no genuine election is needed.
There’s the crime of hiding away the executive remuneration report deep in the AGM paperwork, so that members overlook it.
There’s the crime of making AGMs so deadly dull that nobody turns up (or at least nobody turns up more than once).
There’s the crime of treating the AGM as simply a jolly for those members (and, particularly, staff members) who turn up. Give ‘em a decent buffet, and the job’s over for another year.
There’s the crime, in other words, of not treating the AGM as a key part of a healthy co-op’s democratic governance.
Of course, there are co-ops I can think of that really do their best to stage meaningful AGMs – and I think things are generally getting better. But let’s not be complacent.
Maybe you can think of other AGM crimes for my list…