We work with many established co-operative and community-benefit societies in a wide range of sectors, and regularly provide legal advice to those wishing to explore a co-operative or mutual approach for their business.
Our solicitors have extensive experience in advising leading co-operative retail societies, housing co-operatives, multi-constituency membership organisations and national bodies using a member-based structure. We regularly provide support to society secretaries and governance managers in dealing with democratic ownership and governance.
We are market leaders in developing innovative thinking in co-operative and mutual governance, for example, we:
- work with a number of leading retail societies, exploring new ideas for co-operative governance and co-operative capital;
- developed a co-operative approach that enables the general public to own local services as members, particularly in relation to care and personal services, for themselves and future generations;
- developed an innovative restructuring of the charitable ownership and governance of the Housing and Support Alliance to become Learning Disability England;
- helped Cartrefi Cymru, which supports people with learning disabilities, on its journey from a top-down charity to a bottom-up co-operative; and
- support the emergence of platform co-operatives.
The legal expertise we can provide to co-operatives and mutual includes:
- advising on how real accountability, to those that use an organisation’s service, can be built into governance;
- explaining how multi-constituency (or multi-stakeholder) thinking, which has come out of our work with social co-operatives, can be transferred to different types of organisations;
- working with co-operatives and mutuals to ensure that the voices of members are heard and that the membership structures combine accountability and democracy;
- ensuring the right people, with the best skills and experience, are in place to steer the organisation;
- providing ‘plain-English’ guides, alongside the technical wording of new constitutions, to ensure accessibility to all members;
- guiding clients through structural and governance changes in regulated services, and advising and supporting on gaining consent where needed, so as not to slow down the process; and
- providing training in co-operative law and governance.
We are active supporters of the Co-operative Care Forum, and members of the Plunkett Foundation, Locality and Co-operatives UK. We regularly collaborate with Co-operatives UK, including through its Governance Panel, the Co-operative Party and the Co-operative College.
Our expertise in our specialist sectors of health and social care, education, housing, local government, charities and individual legal services, enables us to draw on a broad spectrum of experience, ensuring we can provide a full-service offering that meets your requirements.
Springfield Horseshoe Co-operative has engaged Anthony Collins Solicitors on a number of matters, ranging from employment issues and board training, to general advice on the Co-operative Rules. We are always met with clear and concise advice with identified resolutions, delivered in a professional and approachable manner. Where a matter becomes non-cost-effective in pursuing, this has been identified without thoughtfully-reasoned advice.Julia Pangbourne, Housing Manager, Springfield Horseshoe Housing Management Co-operative Ltd.