Proposals for Cooperation Birmingham

Proposals for Cooperation Birmingham

We (Paul, Mani and Cecile) propose the following points. We want to be clear this might not be the best way to go about every specific point, and are open for edits or/and alternative suggestions, such as how the asset lock for the CIC should work (point 11) or how the relationship between directors of SolCafe and CoopBrum are elected (points 13 and 14). We hope that this demonstrates a good compromise which keeps the autonomy and the vision of those involved in SolCafe while keeping it connected to CoopBrum and its broader aims.

We propose:

  1. To change the name of the Solidarity Kitchen to “Sol Cafe”. To reduce the variety of names currently used.

  2. To use the cauldron logo created by Seb.

  3. To open Sol Cafe on 21st June 2021

  4. That Sol cafe has the ability to raise additional funds through its own crowdfunding.

  5. That Sol Cafe continues with its website that is maintained by the Sol Cafe crew. ( it already has links to the coopbrum website on it)

  6. That SolCafe has a separate instagram and facebook account for clearer content.

  7. That the business plan is the one that we use to move forward with the sol cafe project.

  8. That a history of Coopbrum is written to keep a record of the growth and to affirm the ideals and foundations of which it has been built. Who has been involved and what its aspirations are for the future.

  9. That Sol Cafe uses the decision making process put forward on the forum as its main means of interaction with CoopBirmingham besides the meetings. Passing this motion, will give the weekly Solcafe general meetings the ability to make small, medium and large decisions (as defined on the coopbrum forum). Regular minutes are to be made available on the forum. The next SolCafe meeting is Monday the 10th of May.

  10. Write a contract with warehouse cafe for the lease of the solcafe on a permanent basis on mondays

  11. Move the CIC asset lock to BFoE

  12. That the current two paid positions at SolCafe are to be held by Seb (Kitchen Coordinator) and Cecile (General Coordinator).

  13. That Cooperation Birmingham elects the directors of SolCafe. The directors will be the permanent staff positions, currently proposed as Kitchen Coordinator and General Coordinator. Passing this proposal will elect Seb and Cecile to these paid positions respectively. Paul and Pat are also unpaid directors.

  14. That there needs to be a grievance process defining exactly what would trigger a replacement of the people in those positions. Eg verbal warnings, then written warnings, then triggering a ‘large, full consensus’ vote in CoopBrum to remove the director in question and start looking for replacements.

Hi @Cecile @Mani @Paul I was just wondering, would you like a vote on each numbered point or a vote on the overall set of proposals?

Also @Cecile and @Paul have you signed up on the OpenCollective yet? Technically, you need to become members to propose something as per the Co-op Brum membership model :+1:

Hey Leo, A vote and or comments on each proposal would be good x

I’m confused about the membership and I’m looking forward for more clarity on Sunday!

  1. To change the name of the Solidarity Kitchen to “Sol Cafe”. To reduce the variety of names currently used.
    I don’t support this proposal, Solidarity, is the principle on which the kitchen and co-op brum were founded. I think it’s fine for Sol cafe to be used as a nickname or in iconography (i.e using a sun in the logo), but would not support losing solidarity from the name. I also don’t see how it reduces the number of names used.

  2. To use the cauldron logo created by Seb.
    I support in principle, It would be good to see the logo though! I love sebs art though so would be nice to see it.

  3. To open Sol Cafe on 21st June 2021
    I support this proposal, I think that this has been passed in the earlier proposal at the AGM, so not sure if we need to vote on it again.

  4. That Sol cafe has the ability to raise additional funds through its own crowdfunding.
    I don’t support this proposal, I think co-op brum and the solidarity cafe will be stronger if working together and encouraging democratic participation. Therefore I believe we should continue with Open collective as the fundraising and membership platform as agreed at the AGM. Additional funds could be raised via grant funding or on the day via PAYF.

  5. That Sol Cafe continues with its website that is maintained by the Sol Cafe crew. ( it already has links to the coopbrum website on it)
    I would not block the proposal but do not support it. I think it would make more sense and be easier to maintain if the website was a subsite of cooperationbirmingham.org.uk - for instance cafe.cooperationbirmingham.org.uk This way resources will be saved in terms of hosting, and we know it will be maintained long term. It will also mean that money for hosting can be paid to autonomic (supporting another co-op), and that the website will be easily accessible as we have members in autonomic and a relationship with them already. I’m also think it would be better if large decisions like this were put to the co-op before being taken so we aren’t retroactively going over things. I think it will be a trivial amount of effort to move the content to a subsite though so I’m not to worried in this circumstance.

  6. That SolCafe has a separate instagram and facebook account for clearer content.
    I do not support this proposal. The current social media profiles have been developed by coop brum and there hasn’t been an issue so far explaining the solidarity kitchen as a subgroup of coop brum, in fact I think it has strengthened our vision and allowed us to communicate principles of solidarity and co-operation to a broad audience. If this were to go ahead it would increase number of platforms to be maintained, which is challenging for the fb/insta/twitter algorithims and people in the social media team.

  7. That the business plan 1 is the one that we use to move forward with the sol cafe project
    I don’t support this proposal. There are elements of the business plan I disagree with, including the heart circles and volunteer concept, it also currently doesn’t reflect the proposal below regarding the election of director by co-op brum and the way in which the CIC is responsible to the Co-op brum membership. My understanding of the purpose of the CIC and a business plan for it would be to get grant funding, I wasn’t previously sure of how to input to it, and assumed it was just being used for a grant application. I think to clarify this there should be a separate mission statement for the Solidarity Cafe from which principles can be drawn for any future business plans needed.

  8. That a history of Coopbrum is written to keep a record of the growth and to affirm the ideals and foundations of which it has been built. Who has been involved and what its aspirations are for the future.
    I support this proposal, I’m happy to contribute to this - I can see how aspirations for the future of co-op brum are related to the mission statement I mentioned in my response to 7.

  9. That Sol Cafe uses the decision making process put forward on the forum as its main means of interaction with CoopBirmingham besides the meetings. Passing this motion, will give the weekly Solcafe general meetings the ability to make small, medium and large decisions (as defined on the coopbrum forum 1). Regular minutes are to be made available on the forum. The next SolCafe meeting is Monday the 10th of May.
    I don’t support this proposal. I think for a large membership organisation, for people to be able to democratically input in large and medium sized decisions they should either go to a monthly all members meeting or for large ones go through the proposed online voting procedure. I do not think it should be possible to make all levels of decisions at weekly meetings.

  10. Write a contract with warehouse cafe for the lease of the solcafe on a permanent basis on mondays
    I don’t support this proposal, however if amended I would support. Cooperation Birmingham has an already existing agreement for the use of the Warehouse Cafe space and payment of utility bills, I don’t see the benefit of this being solely related to the Solidarity Cafe, or how decisions about it could be democratically affected by the membership of Coop Brum. I would support continuing the existing agreement but clarifying the regular Monday usage by the Solidarity Cafe. If there are insurance issues, or legal ones to support this then it would be great to have clarity on this, however I personally can’t think of any and can see that it has been functioning well so far under the current agreement.

  11. Move the CIC asset lock to BFoE
    I don’t support this proposal. BFoE is a charity, I would only support assets going to another co-op, my suggestion would be The Warehouse who manage the building, or the Warehouse Cafe Workers Co-operative, in line with principles of supporting other co-ops.

  12. That the current two paid positions at SolCafe are to be held by Seb (Kitchen Coordinator) and Cecile (General Coordinator).
    I support this proposal. During the start up phase of businesses deciding on a fair hiring process is difficult and in this case I think it makes sense for those who have been heavily involved to get the positions, my feeling is that I agree with this initially but in the longer term we should have an open and proper hiring process which means we would be able to be inline with disability and employment law. It would be good if there was more clarity on the funding for the paid positions and contracts, wages etc.

  13. That Cooperation Birmingham elects the directors of SolCafe. The directors will be the permanent staff positions, currently proposed as Kitchen Coordinator and General Coordinator. Passing this proposal will elect Seb and Cecile to these paid positions respectively. Paul and Pat are also unpaid directors.
    I support this proposal in principle, however I believe all directors should be members of cooperation birmingham, so that there is not a division between the operation of the cafe and coop brum. Ideally I think unpaid directors should have a majority over paid ones to deal with any conflicts of interest. For me this is a disadvantage of the CIC model and why I regret more people not being involved in the process of incorporating it. A CBS would be a better fit, but think we can easily come up with a workable solution.
    It would be good to have clarity on the role the CIC is playing here, I think it should be limited to banking, employing staff and grant funding there is more discussion about it here: We should not become an NGO

  14. That there needs to be a grievance process defining exactly what would trigger a replacement of the people in those positions. Eg verbal warnings, then written warnings, then triggering a ‘large, full consensus’ vote in CoopBrum to remove the director in question and start looking for replacements.
    I think we need to be careful here, I think job roles need to be defined so that they don’t conflict with democratic decision making of cooperation brum. Workers should be held to account on how they fulfill their contracts by their fellow directors (hence the majority explained above), I don’t think they can be held accountable directly by the membership of coop brum, so for that reason we should ensure that job roles are agreed on beforehand. I agree though separately that there should be a grievance procedure within Coop brum for all of our members.

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Hey can I have some clarity one this point. My understanding that directors should be re-elected yearly is that meant by this or is it permanent as in forever barring the replacement process? I’m down with this in the first case but very worried about it in the second.

Hi everyone, me and cecile and polls are hoping to sit down this wednesday and modify the proposals and put them up for voting this wednesday. Please watch this space

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Polls and I met yesterday to discuss ways of moving forward in relation to the Sol Cafe project and Coop Brum. I’ve attached notes including two new proposals. Please take a look and give your feedback . Thx

Hi folks. If I’m understanding this right, these two proposals are saying that Sol Cafe is an entirely separate entity from Co-op Brum?

That’s my interpretation of what is written here.

My understanding is that the proposal is for SolCafe to have a similar relationship to Coop Brum as the Bike Foundry or Warehouse Cafe do. ie those directly involved in the project have autonomy in the decisions, but there is a mutual aid/cooperative relationship.

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My understanding is that the proposal is for SolCafe to have a similar relationship to Coop Brum as the Bike Foundry or Warehouse Cafe do. ie those directly involved in the project have autonomy in the decisions, but there is a mutual aid/cooperative relationship.

So, a separate co-op then.

The Bike Foundry has no relation to Cooperation Birmingham other than an overlap of two people (Sean and me)

The Warehouse Cafe has been enormously supportive in terms of its members working on projects while furloughed and in being open for Cooperation Birmingham to use its facilities. But CB pays rent and pays for its own resources.

It would be presumptuous and inaccurate to act as if there are relationships between CB and other local organisations based the fact that some people overlap. The other organisations are not autonomous projects of CB but totally independent organisations in their own right.

I would like to have a think about how organisations could become organisational members of CB but even in this case the decision would lie with the organisations whether they wanted to join or not.

Sorry. I misunderstood. I thought there was an existing formalised relationship with other Brum coops.

It would be pretty cool if there was, and I think we should work towards it, so I don’t want to seem like I was being dismissive. We just need to expand enough that there are mutual benefits to integrating. For instance one early idea was a compost project that could take food waste from the Warehouse Cafe (for instance), compost it, supply it to a growing project and that could supply ingredients to the cafe or Loaf (etc).