Dee McMahon, Chair of the Urban Co-op, came down to visit us at our new location and discuss future co-operation. Volunteer members Robert, Mark and John joined us for a photo.

Sam Toland is a member of the Co-ordinating Body (our board of directors) and serves as our current Co-op Secretary.

As the search for and transition to our new premises becomes a (major!) footnote in Dublin Food Co-op history, the work of your CB turns from keeping our Food Co-op afloat, to developing a Co-op that continues to benefit members and achieves our common purpose.

An important part of this work is ensuring that the work of the CB and the management of our Co-op is as transparent and accessible to members as possible.

It is fair to say that although the CB have endeavoured to keep members updated about their decisions in recent years, in many respects we have fallen short.

This is something that the CB is very much committed to rectifying in the future, and I thought as a start to this process, I would update members on some important plans and developments within our governance and administration.

Talkin’ Co-op and AGM 2018

Talkin’ Co-op

It has been a while since we have gathered as members to discuss the current state of affairs in our Co-op. The CB will be hosting a Talkin’ Co-op event in the Lime Tree Café at 18.30 on Monday 4th March 2019 to discuss progress with the Kilmainham shop and the direction of travel in the year ahead.

AGM 2019

The CB will be discussing holding our AGM in June 2019.

This is to address a common issue in the past of members having insufficient time to consider the Annual Report and financial statements before the AGM. It should also offer members plenty of time to get their nominations in for the next CB election.

It is our intention to have the audit completed by the end of March and the Annual Report drafted and sent to members in April 2019.

I will update members on the proposed date for the AGM after the next CB meeting.

CB and Members Committees

You have probably already read about the new and evolving committees that members can get involved in. There are still spaces available on the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee as well as the Nomination & Governance Committee.

Email secretary@dublinfood.coop with your interest.

There is also a working proposal on a Members’ Affairs Committee to create a space for more ongoing member involved in the running of our Co-op. If you are interested in being a part of the discussion, check out this blog post.

Register of Motions

The Register of Motions is an important tool in any co-operative to ensure that every member knows the decisions that have been taken in the past, and helps CBs ensure they are exercising their powers appropriately.

The impact of a unclear picture of past decisions is the bane of many membership organisations, and I don’t think it would be wrong to say that our very own Dublin Food Co-op has suffered from this in the past, hence the recommendation from members to compile a Register of Motions.

When I became Secretary, I was provided with a draft Register of Motions thanks to the efforts of a number of past Secretaries – Christine Warner, Jennifer Winder-Baggot and Eileen Fitzsimons – and the Co-op is indebted to them for this work. This contained a huge volume of work, but still requires to be cross-referenced with copies of approved minutes so as to form a definitive source of past decisions.

There is still quite a large body of work required to get a definitive Register of Motions compiled.

This work has been deprioritised over the last year, but thanks to the efforts of a number of volunteers we have been making progress over the last few months. It is likely however that we will need to dedicate some administrative resources to get this register completed within a reasonable period of time.

If anyone is interested in contributing to this project, and is somewhat familiar with GSuite and Google Sheets – please email me at secretary@dublinfood.coop to get involved.

CB Minutes

At our AGM in 2010, the members passed a motion requesting that the CB:-

The CB will make abridged minutes of
meetings available to members within 7 days
of approval, electronically upon request and
by hard copy available at the Dublin Food
Co-op.

As the Constitution does not require the CB to publish minutes, the CB are in the position of having to weigh up whether it is best interests of the co-operative to publish minutes against the understandable desire of the members to review the minutes of CB meetings.

The convention between 2010 and 2017 was that the CB would publish abridged versions of their meetings, but from 2017, the CB decided that the matters being discussed at our meetings were all of such a sensitive nature and likely to impact on the very survival of the Co-op, that they would suspend this convention.

On reflection, I believe that we have not communicated this adequately to members. Considering that this motion was passed by the members in General Meeting, any departure from this (and the reasons for it) should have been presented more clearly to members at a General Meeting.

Rest assured that CB understands the importance of their decisions being clear and transparent, and the role that this transparency plays in members engagement with their Co-op.

The CB will be discussing this specific issue at our next meeting including whether to publish up to date abridged minutes and/or bring a proposal to members for an alternative means of members keeping up to date with the decisions of the CB.

I will keep members updated on this discussion.

Fáilte Member Induction

We have had over 500 members sign up to our Co-op since November 2018, so clearly we need to ensure that these members are inducted in our values and ways of working as soon as possible.

A number of DFC members got together on the morning of the 9th Saturday to review a new member induction presentation for use in a relaunched Failte Session.

Pauric Cannon, one of our most active founding members and core contributor to the Failte Session over the years, was able to attend the workshop and made a number of important suggestions particularly around tone and the importance of emphasising our radical and progressive values.

Donal Lyons and Patrick Doyle, two active members, are now working on incorporating his and other feedback from the session and we hope to have the first date for our new Failte soon.

If you are interested in participating in running this session and/or offering feedback on the presentation – don’t hestitate to reach out at failte@dublinfood.coop

Final Thoughts

I really hope that members have found this update useful, and I thank you for taking the time to read it.

We are hoping to have more regular updates on the work of the CB, our Management and our committees – so keep an eye out in the newsletter.