Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society Ltd is committed to providing every member with the opportunity to become involved in their Society. One way of doing this is to stand for election.
There are three levels of entry for those members wishing to get more involved behind the scenes; the Members’ Council, Membership Committee and Board of Directors. Our younger members (16 – 22) are encouraged to participate in our Youth Council. There are no minimum qualification requirements to represent the members though there is some eligibility criteria. It is recommended that candidates serve the Members’ Council and Membership Committee first, as the experience gained on these will provide members with a sound understanding, relevant experience and training before becoming a Director.
Chelmsford Star established a Youth Council in 2011 specifically to introduce younger people (between the age of 16 and 22) to the idea of co-operation as a trading concept, and to demonstrate how we put our Values and Principles into action. We provide additional 'life skills' training and they give us a younger perspective on our business. The Youth Council meet once a term. We were the first Society to involve young people in this way, and other Society’s have since followed in our footsteps. It is our hope that the Youth Council members will continue their connection with Chelmsford Star in later life, either through further committee involvement, through future trade, as employees or by promoting our ideals to others.
The Members’ Council meets four times a year and introduces members to the Society’s inner workings. It presents an ideal opportunity for members who may be considering standing for the Board or Membership Committee to learn about the Society and gain practical experience of co-operative committee work. There are always opportunities to actively participate in interesting Society projects, interact with members, and attend events arranged by the Head of Membership. The Members’ Council is considered the ideal entry level for members who wish to progress to positions of greater responsibility, and all discussions are minuted and given to the Directors for consideration.
The Members' Council is made up of eight elected members - four being elected at each AGM to serve a two year term. In addition, a representative of the Youth Council receives an honorary seat on the Members’ Council to provide a conduit between the two.
The Membership Committee is involved with all aspects of membership from recruiting new members to promoting their involvement in the Society’s affairs. It is a sub-committee of the Board of Directors and is responsible for encouraging the growth of membership, and getting members involved in Society affairs through elections. The Membership Committee is attended by the Head of Membership and the Society Secretary, and meets as frequently as it considers necessary to carry out its work, but not less than eight times each year.
The Membership Committee comprises four Directors and three members elected at the AGM, one being the Chair of the Members' Council who receives an honorary seat to provide a link between the two. The term of office is two years.
Board of Directors
The Board of Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society Ltd is made up of ten Directors, and the role is an important one. Directors represent the members and determine the Society’s policies and direction, and monitor progress in line with agreed strategy. The Board of Directors ensure that the Society adheres to the Co-operative Values and Principles, as set out by the International Co-operative Alliance, which ensures the Co-operative ethos remains at the heart of the Society.
The Directors are democratically elected by the members, each to serve a three year term. The Board is chaired by the President who is supported by the Vice President; both positions are elected by the Directors annually. Formal Board meetings are held once a month, usually on a Thursday evening at the Society’s Head Office in Chelmsford’s City centre.
What does being a Director involve?
The Chief Executive Officer advises and guides the Board, and his management team is responsible for putting the Board’s policies into practice. Directors give the equivalent of a few hours each week and receive ongoing training to help them to carry out their duties and equip them for positions of greater involvement. Specific responsibilities are delegated to sub-committees, the composition of which is decided amongst the Board following the AGM. The committees are:
• Audit Committee
• Membership Committee
• Pension Fund Trustees
• Remuneration Committee
• Succession Planning Committee