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Equal Care Co-op

Governance and people

Equal Care Co-op want investors to have a proper stake in Equal Care Co-op and to have a voice, so they are represented in membership.  There are two board positions available for Investor Members. Investors are invited to the AGM and quarterly members meetings. They are also using online governance tools to make voting processes easy and transparent.

The overall decision-making though, properly rests with the people who are paying for the service and providing it.

Governance

Ownership is important, but it’s just the starting point. To truly tackle the powerlessness that people getting support, their families and care workers experience in the system, Equal Care Co-op are introducing a few more crucial ingredients.

They are using circle governance: this is a method of organising called 'sociocracy' that keeps decision-making local whilst still being able to act in concert and at scale. It doesn’t rely on traditional hierarchical structures to work.

There are already successful organisations around who are using sociocracy or close variants of it. They have been inspired by and are actively collaborating with these proven strategies for grassroots social care governance in the Netherlands ( Buurtzorg has grown from four people to a ten thousand strong community of 900 self-managing teams) and successful examples in the UK ( Cornerstones and Wellbeing Teams ). Perhaps unsurprisingly, if you give care and support workers agency and control over their day-to-day with great back-up, you get much better outcomes for the people they support.

Equal Care Co-op don’t have a pecking order with managers managing more managers. Instead, communities of professional care and support workers and volunteers will come together to co-ordinate support in their own neighbourhoods. They control their budgets, their recruitment, their partnerships and ways of working. They rely on the larger co-operative community to provide the digital tools, the assurances of quality and the infrastructure to bring in the business.

Circles

Equal Care Co-op want to create a network of interlinking semi-independent circles which can rely on the broader co-operative for infrastructure provision and assurance, support and regulatory roles. Circles may or may not choose to incorporate as separate co-operatives who become organisational members of Equal Care and are free to use the technology.

Circles are semi-independent, have their own identity and are the main arena for co-ordinating and offering support in that area. The platform links them together and broadens the choices that people getting support have available to them (so that workers and volunteers associated with particular circles can still support someone out of that area if they wish and give other circles back-up).

Equal Care Co-op anticipates some groups setting up charities to support the community-based and voluntary activities working alongside the professional care-giving to create locally-focussed vehicles for fundraising and providing more resources for the volunteers.

Who will run Equal Care Co-op

At the first AGM on June 12th (the day the share offer launches) the first proper board of Directors will be elected, who’ll serve for a mixture of 1, 2 or 3 years. There will be up to five supported or advocate members, five worker members and two investor members.

The first elections in which investor members can stand or vote will be in 2020. Any investor can stand to be an investor member of the board, and people elected serve for three years. Regardless of how much you have invested, each investor director only gets one vote at board meetings.

The ultimate decision-making authority in the co-operative is the General Meeting of all members. To ensure the primacy of ownership remains with supported and worker members, investor members will be restricted to 10% of the votes on any resolutions, and can’t vote at all in any special resolutions required to change the corporate status of the co-operative.

Equal Care Co-op are – and will remain – locally rooted. This is in their core mission. The operational and local strategic decision-making takes place within each neighbourhood circle and the workers, peer supporters and volunteer members offering support in those areas work as self-managed teams.

Executive Team and Directors

Directors' remuneration

None of the directors are paid for their role as Directors

Directors' holdings

The directors are all members of the Society.

Conflict of Interest

The rules of Equal Care Co-op include provisions relating to potential conflicts of interest; related party activities are disclosed and dealt with according to the rules.

Employee satisfaction

Equal Care Co-op does not currently monitor employee satisfaction

Diversity

The Equal Care Co-op board is 100% female (4 out of 4 Directors). 

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