|Who controls it?||Management committee|
|What is the governing document?||Rules|
|Who is the regulator?||FSA|
|Does it have limited liability?||Yes|
|What sources of finance are available?||Loans, Equity Finance, rarely grants|
|Is charitable status available?||Very Rarely|
Co-operative society (bonafide co-operative) are a type of society with a co-operative structure that are established for member benefit rather than public benefit. The International Co-operative Alliance Statement on the Co-operative Identity describes a co-operative as ‘an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise’. All co-operatives operate under the International Co-operative Alliance co-operative values and Principles.
One of their key features is usually summarised as 'one member, one vote'. There are several different types of co-operatives (e.g. worker, consumer, community, agricultural). Further information can be found at Co-operatives UK.
They cannot be charitable, except possibly in a case where a necessary condition of membership is to be within a class of charitable beneficiaries (for example, being a resident in financial need in an area of deprivation).
They can raise equity finance up to a maximum of £20,000. [This restriction does not apply to members who are themselves Co-operative Societies or local authorities who have acquired a holding under the Housing Associations Act 1985.]