Who We Are
• Set-up in 1982.
• Now the largest co-operative development agency in
• Support and train co-operatives and social
enterprises throughout Wales.
• Funded by:
Welsh Government, European Union, Local
Authorities & Consultancy fees.
Co-operative Consortia - The
Opportunities• Shared costs / pooling funding to buy services
• Shared resources – staff / premises
• Bulk purchasing
• Increased brand recognition
• Enhanced business efficiency & professionalism
• Continuity and volume of supply
• Shared skills and knowledge
• Opportunities to share good practice and ideas
• Greater presence in the market place & access to new markets
• Ability to tender for large contracts – required scale
• Peer support and creative exchange – mutually supportive culture
• Shared responsibilities and risks
• Add value to a procurement bid and help increase the chances of
winning a bid
• Provides an infrastructure to explore other areas of joint activity
The Consortia Development Stages
Early Stage Planning – Joint Vision
Developing the Business Model
Review and Evaluation
Agree on the Structure of the Consortium
Legal Framework and Governance
Joint Bidding Guide
• Developed by Welsh Government, Wales Co-
operative Centre and WCVA.
• Aimed at both private sector businesses and
• Practical toolkit to aid the success of
• Guidance for both the supply and the buy
• Online resource:
Why Form a Co-operative Consortia
• Necessity – that is partnerships are mandated by law
• Asymmetry – one party wishes to exercise control
• Reciprocity – partners seek mutual benefit through
• Efficiency – partners may gain more efficiency
• Stability – organisations can encounter less
uncertainty through interaction.
• Legitimacy – organisations may obtain or enhance
their public image through cooperation.
Case Study – N. Wales Textile Recycling
• 6 social enterprises in North Wales
looking recycling textiles
• Textile recycling has become a
highly lucrative market.
• Better bargaining power with textile
merchants if work together – can
command a higher price fore
• Can also have more control of end
use of clothing e.g. ethical markets.
• Aim to set up a textile recycling
depot – creates jobs and training
opportunities for people in N. Wales.
• Collectively bid for local authority
Collaborative Working– When it goes
• Collaboration is often better described as “putting
mutual loathing aside in order to get your hands
on the money”
• Partnership working involves “the undefinable in
pursuit of the unachievable”!
Powell and Dowling, 2006
• “Collaboration is like cottage cheese. It
occasionally smells bad and separates easily.”
Thompson and Perry, 1998
Who Should You Work With?
• No hard a fast rules
• Links to your strategy – what do you want to
• Geographic coverage v breadth of experience
and service offering – or both?
• Size – do you need to partner with larger
organisations to give you access to new
• Just social enterprises??
Developing the Vision
• Recognition of the need to collaborate
• Clear understanding of everyone’s starting point
• Clear understanding of each partner’s respective goals – what are the
common areas on which to hook a collective vision
• Clear understanding of each partner’s respective competencies.
• Be clear on people’s breaking points – no go areas
• Recognition of the need to compromise
• Clear on the culture you want to create
• Terms of reference – set out the framework for engagement and
• Devise a work plan with timescales to meet expressed outcomes
• Be clear on how to resource early stage development
• Need to have the approval of the respective boards / trustees
• Independent tea houses and cafes
in North Wales.
• Share a common commitment to an
• Improve their approaches to
marketing, buying, training and
quality standards whist retaining
their own individual identities.
• Aim to create a unique tea and
coffee culture for North Wales.
• Future aim – establish a co-
operative roaster for members.
You are setting up a new Social Enterprise
consortium. What are the three most
important matters to address in establishing
your rules for the group?
Boundaries for Engagement
• Purpose of the consortium
• Decision making processes
• Dispute resolution
• Membership termination / changes
• Duration of agreement
• Confidentiality / data protection
• Understand the public sector’s potential requirements
• Where do they operate from?
• How do they procure? How often do they procure?
• What is their procurement policy?
• Do they work with other public bodies to aggregate their
buying into larger contracts or regional frameworks?
• Who are their current suppliers?
• When do the current contracts run out?
• Raise buyer awareness of your consortium
• Update your marketing materials
• Think through and explain your systems
• Case studies and references
• Upgrade your registrations.
Case Study – Three C’s Partners
• This is a consortium offering services such
as cleaning services, catering services and
local resources to the people in the Graig-Y-
Rhacca and wider Caerphilly area.
• The consortium consists of one business – a
cleaning business – and the resource centres
of White Rose and Graig-Y-Rhacca.
• The members have come together to form a
company which will employ a joint business
development manager funded through the
Social Enterprise Fund.
• The company is a company limited by
Guarantee with the 3 members as legal
Things That Can go Wrong
Rushed planning and decisions at start-up
Non-compliance with legal requirements
Poor decision making
Lack of financial control
Lack of transparency
Conflict and misunderstandings
Wasted time, money and other resources
People are not protected
Governance Issues to Consider
• One member one vote
• Delegated powers
• Consistent representation
• Mediation of the different interests within the
• Decision making
• Document control
• Quality management procedures & project
Issue Potential Solution
Clear Understanding of the
Relationship Between Consortia
Joint Working Agreement
Disclosing sensitive information Non-disclosure Agreement
Collective Ownership of Assets Creation of a Trust
Declaration of Trust Document
Ownership of Products / Services Be clear on any potential
Intellectual Property issues
Role of the Lead Body Managing Agent Contract
Issue Potential Solution
Delivery within a Lead Body
Engaging with New Members Accession Agreement
Ensure the Consortium is
Recognised as Social
Enterprise in its own Right
Memorandum and Articles of
Clarity on Role of Steering
Group in Lead Body Model
Terms of Reference
Issue Potential Solution
Employing People Contracts of Employment
Taking on Assets Lease / Freehold Agreements
Payment of Partners Internal Payment Schedule
Costs Open book information
Revenues and profits Joint working agreement
• Advice on suitable business models, organisational and
• Advice and support with governance issues
• Business and financial planning advice and support
• Finding finance and helping to access grant funding where
• Support with HR issues
• Support with developing important equalities strategies
and environmental management systems
• Training and mentoring