Welcome to the Argyle Street Housing Cooperative Rules and Policies website. In these pages you will find all of our operating procdures and and governing documents.
Our rulebook was set down upon the registration of our cooperative and amended to their current form in 1983. Unlike our policies, which determine the day to day operation of ASH Coop and which we are free to create and amend ourselves whenever we deem appropriate, our rules are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority in the Mutuals Register . Changing or amending our rules requires inspection by the UK goverment watchdog Regulator of Social Housing to ensure compliance with legislation.
The Rules of the Argyle Street Housing Cooperative describe the basic operation of ASH Coop in relation to the Law. From the way we organise our meetings to official business that we need to undertake in order to comply with company law, the rules also detail the composition and operation of our Executive Committee.
The Committee is comprised essentially of the working group coordinators and the executive process should work a bit like this : Decisions are made in the General Meeting and then handed to the Committee, or more specifically, the relevant working group represented in the Committee, to carry out. ASH Coop General Meetings take place once every month and every member has the right, obligation even, to attend. The form, composition and procedures of meetings are also described in the rules.
Our policies are our instruction manuals for the day to day running of ASH Coop. They also often serve as declarations of our ethical standards and principles such as our commitments to Equality and Diversity and to the building and maintaining of ecologically sustainable community practices.
As a community we organise ourselves into working groups, each with a responsiblity for one, or in some cases, several aspects of our operation. Policies are like the instruction manuals for working groups that ensure consistency of approach and fair treatment for all by declaring clear statements of purpose and describing procedures of operation. Policies can be contributed to by any member of the community but it is normally the role of the working groups and the working group coordinators to maintain and administrate them. Policies neccesarily go through a process of scrutiny by the membership before they are ratified in the General Meeting
Of equal importance to the rules and policies and perhaps the document most immediately relevant to most members is the Tenancy Agreement. Members of ASH Coop embody the roles of both tenant and landlord even if the notion of being a 'landlord' may not sit compfortably with many in our community. The tenancy agreement is the contract that every ASH Coop member signs upon accepting a place in the community and describes the expected levels of cooperation in matters such as noise and nuisance and the agreement to contribute to the upkeep of personal spaces as well as communal spaces.
The tenancy agreement is often one of the first documents to consult in cases when members are in dispute with one another or with the community.
The 7 Cooperative Principles
We also make frequent reference to the fundamental principles of cooperation, originally laid down by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in 1844, and now reviewed and maintained by the ICA (International Co-operative Alliance) . These principles are the guidelines by which co-operatives 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 to 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.