how we work
ASH Co-op is a democratic organisation based on the principle of one-member one-vote.
Members have direct authority in the decision making process through participation at our general meetings. Any member can present an idea to the community at the General Meeting. This may be something internal, such as a suggestion as to how we spend our money, or external, such as how we interact with the local community around us.
General meetings also decide our policies which are our instruction manuals for how we do things as a community.
General meetings of the membership are held every month. They normally take place on an evening in the first week of the month rotating between a Tuesday, Wednesday and
Thursday to account for the differing evening responsibilities of members. Members are expected to attend at least
three general meetings a year.
General meetings are organised by the Secretarial working group which prepares an agenda for meeting
as well as coordinates volunteers to facilitate the meeting and to take minutes.
The work required for us to function as an effective housing provider is undertaken by members organised into working groups. Working Groups form the structure by which the co-op manages its obligations as a housing provider to the
ourselves as tenant / members. All members are expected to participate in some way in at least one of the co-op's working groups, although participation is flexible and determined by a member's availability and capacity.
You may like to read more about our working groups.
The co-operation of working groups is often governed by written policies collectively approved and ratified by the membership at the general meeting. Policies state the aims and procedures of Working Groups. Policies are like the instruction manuals for how we work in any given area of the business.
We have an extensive list of policies which enable members to take decisions for themselves on a variety of every day things. You can read more about what policies are how we make them here or you can find a complete list of our policies on our governance website.
The Seven Co-operative Principles
The co-operative ideal is as old as human society. It is the idea of conflict and competition
as a principle of economic progress that is new
The seven co-operative principles are a set of guidelines recognised by the international co-operative movement which co-operative organisations put their values into practice.
Voluntary and Open Membership
Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the
responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
Democratic Member Control
Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their
policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership.
In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels
are also organised in a democratic manner.
Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that
capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on
capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following
purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be
indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other
activities approved by the membership.
Autonomy and Independence
Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with
other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure
democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
Education, Training, and Information
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so
they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public -
particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
Co-operation among Co-operatives
Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together
through local, national, regional and international structures.
Concern for Community
Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.