Sam Toland currently serves as our Co-operative Secretary.
An Annual General Meeting is an important feature of any co-operative’s democracy.
It is critical to offering members the chance to review the activities of their co-operative
during the previous year and to ensure that the Co-ordinating Body (our Committee of
Management) reflects the will of our diverse and engaged membership.
The Co-ordinating Body are acutely aware that their legitimacy as the directors of
our co-operative is contingent on regularly accounting to our members at each
Annual General, and they looked forward to doing so in May of this year. They also
welcome the opportunity for new aspiring members to be nominated for election.
Unfortunately, as all members can appreciate, they were forced to delay the AGM due
to not only concerns over holding the physical meeting itself but also due to the need
to refocus the resources of the co-operative into adapting to the changed
environment that has unfolded quite rapidly.
We are happy to report that thanks to the efforts of our management and staff team,
strong leadership from the Co-ordinating Body and the co-operation of our volunteers
and loyal members, our co-operative has been able to adapt quite strongly to
the changing environment and continue to offer the best service possible to our
membership and the wider community.
Now that things have reached at least some sort of steady state regarding the
public health situation – the Co-ordinating Body are reflecting on when we can
feasibly hold our Annual General Meeting and in what format, be it physical,
blended or online.
We are obliged by our Constitution to hold our Annual General Meeting before
the end of June, but the overriding public health advice is that this is too soon
into the pandemic to hold a gathering of this size and scale.
Our AGMs have a minimum attendance of 40, and an average attendance of
between 50 and 90 members each year.
We have sought advice from ICOS (a national umbrella body for co-operatives of
which we are members) and they have advised that we delay the Annual General
Meeting until guidance on holding events of this scale becomes clearer but
ensure that our Annual Report is circulated to members in order
to ensure maximum transparency in the interim.
We are confident that we will have the Annual Report finalised by the end of
June and ready to circulate to members by then.
The Co-ordinating Body is very reluctant to delay the AGM any further
than absolutely necessary, but is cognisant of the advice from ICOS and
the Department of Health.
We are currently awaiting further advice from ICOS on whether we could
hold a meeting sooner, in either a blended format (some members onsite and
others participating online) or indeed a fully online meeting.
This might allow us to not only hold the meeting earlier but to ensure that
at-risk members can continue to participate in our AGM (a significant
proportion of regular AGM attendees would fall within this group).
As mentioned above, the Co-op is still seeking clarity on whether holding an
online/blended Annual General Meeting is permissible but it is likely that any
decision will be a judgement call on the part of the Co-ordinating Body based
on advice from ICOS.
The Co-ordinating Body would like to take the opportunity to ask you, as a
member of Dublin Food Co-op, to share your own views on the format of
our next Annual General Meeting.
The survey will be open until the 31st May 2020 and we will
publish the results of the survey in the following newsletter.
The views of the members will inform the decision that the
Co-ordinating Body takes on this very important matter.
If you would like your voice heard, please take a few
minutes to complete the survey below.