AGM 2015 Minutes, financial report, draft statement of values

Download key documents:

AGM minutes

Financial report (AGM)

Financial report (May 2015)

SSC and ISRF Project Plan

Draft statement of values

Social Science Centre, Lincoln

4th Annual General Meeting, 16th May 2015.

Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln. 11-4pm.


Paul Boyce, Lucy McGinty


Andrew McCulloch

Angela Porter

Bob Cannell

David McAleavey

Gerard de Zeeuw

Joss Winn (Note-taker)

Laura Stratford

Martha Vahl

Mike Neary

Peaceful Warrior

Sam Kelly

Sandie Stratford

Sarah Amsler (Chair)

Stephen Hopkins

Bradley Allsop

Andrea Abbas

Simon Legg

Stephen Hopkins

Tony Jeffs

Wendy Vause


Morning: Co-operative business (11:00am–12:30pm)

  • Opening of the day & review of previous AGM minutes/actions
  • Review of the SSC Constitution
  • SSC financial report
  • Report on courses (Know-How: Do-It-Ourselves Higher Education) and information about upcoming curriculum design workshops + activities/events
  • Any other business

Lunch (12:30–1:00pm)                                                                                    

Bring and share!

Afternoon: Talks and discussions (1:00–4:00pm)

1:00–1:15pm     Co-ops – It’s all about the people

Bob Cannell, Suma Co-op

1:45-2:00pm     Co-operatives in the East Midlands

Angela Porter, Lincolnshire Co-operative Development Agency

2:30–2:45pm    The history & archive of the Lincolnshire Co-op & the place of education

Andrew Jackson, Bishop Grosseteste University

3:15–3:30pm    Informal education and the free university

Tony Jeffs, Durham University

4:00pm                Closing


  • Agree 2014 minutes
    • SSC [ISRF] project will look at governance
    • ACTION: We will organize a half day workshop on decision-making and technologies. Sarah to bring paper on democratic decision making.
    • ACTION: Meeting on 28th May about SSC [ISRF] project – decide whether to use the project to discuss governance issues. (see subsequent project plan linked above)
    • Wendy noted that she did attend the 2014 AGM
    • 2014 minutes (2b) on ‘conflict resolution’ – the proposal relating to termination of membership was not agreed.
    • 2014 AGM minutes agreed.
  • Matters arising
  • Constitution
    • Question around what is a ‘member’? Socially, intellectually, politically? Who is the co-operative? This was also discussed last year.
    • Should statement of values be included in the constitution?
    • Should membership be open?
    • ACTION: Andrew to send statement of values around again
    • ACTION: We agreed to organise a year-long project using the constitution to develop meaningful definitions and practices of ‘democracy’, ‘non-hierarchical self-organisation’, ‘membership’, and ‘consensus’, with attention to issues of power and communication, and with a view to revising the constitution, our ‘business plan’, statement of values if necessary and producing principles of organisation, teaching and how to propose and run courses/activities (also to discuss whether the constitution should include a stronger statement of SSC values) Stephen has written an outline of this up. See attached plan. [All]
    • The series of research workshops organised by Joss and Mike to develop a framework for a co-operative university may be part of this, as the SSC is the site for it; there will be a meeting on 28 May to discuss this link.
    • ACTION: Sarah, Lucy and Andrea will work on producing principles for the new short courses and share experience and suggestions from this perspective.
    • ACTION: We agreed to use some of our money to pay for training in decision-making and other relevant skills — to be determined and organised at a meeting in the near future — these may be related to the co-operative university research workshops. [All]
    • We agreed constitution on the basis that it’s a working document for next year.
  • Financial report (attached)
    • Need to revise the business plan or dispose of it.
    • Members agreed the processes of reporting the finances.
    • Members thanked Stephen for his work on role as Treasurer.
  • Secretary: Mike Neary agreed. Treasurer: Stephen Hopkins agreed.
  • Stephen will step down in one year.
  • Agreed that elected roles (secretary and treasurer) should be for maximum fixed terms of 3 years. Changing of roles should not coincide.
  • Know-how course: Mike gave summary of the course. It struggled to find a focus of study but did look at methodology and process. In the New Year, we developed a more structured timetable of discussing our own research. Moved to Mint Lane, well attended. Didn’t write up each session as we had before.
  • Curriculum planning day for Fall 2015 will be on 26 July, 1-4pm, Mint Lane
  • ACTION: Ask for 200w from each person to publish on the website. Thanked PW for helping coordinate the use of Mint Lane building. [All]
  • ACTION: Sort out website and how we find information. [Joss]
  • ACTION: Prioritise discussion about co-ordinator role at next meeting (June 6th).



Please donate to our solidarity fund

At a recent meeting of the SSC, we agreed to set up a ‘solidarity fund’ to assist people who want to attend the research workshops to develop a model of co-operative higher education. In particular, we’re hoping it will help students who want to come to Lincoln and get involved but don’t have the money to do so. In short, we’re asking you to donate via the PayPal ‘Donate’ button in the right-hand sidebar of this page so that we can help people out with travel and any other miscellaneous expenses they incur. Any money left over after the project has ended will be retained by the SSC and used to pay for public educational projects. We will report on this in our regular financial reports.

You probably want to know a bit more about how both the SSC and the research project are funded. The full grant application, including outline budget, is published here.

The SSC is a member run and member funded co-operative. Members voluntarily contribute the equivalent of one hour of their net salary each month. Our financial reports show that we usually have somewhere between £1000-£2000 in the bank to pay for building rental, putting on public seminars, our AGM, last year’s conference, etc. At our recent meeting, SSC members agreed not to use the membership fund to pay for or subsidise the research project, but set up a specific hardship fund instead.

The research project is funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation, through the University of Lincoln. The applicants for the grant were Joss Winn and Mike Neary, who are both founding members of the SSC and work at the university. All money received from the ISRF is used to pay for the workshops and interviews. The SSC does not hold the grant funding in its bank account, but does direct how it is spent. None of the grant funding is used to cover people’s time/salaries. The ISRF have a clause in their funding agreement that says that any additional money received for the running of the project (such as the donations we are asking for), must be agreed with them. The ISRF agreed to this via email yesterday.

With that in mind, we hope you’ll consider donating to the project and help people get involved in developing a model for co-operative higher education. When asked to enter the purpose of the donation, please enter ‘research project’ to help us keep track of things. If you have any questions about this fund, please use the comment box below or email Thank you.

Joss Winn

Meeting notes 7th February 2015

Social Science Centre, Planning Meeting – Lincoln Share 7th February: 12 noon


Laura, Andrew, Peaceful, Mike, Wendy


Sarah, Joss, David, Gerard, Martha

Do it Ourselves

Sessions agreed for Do it Ourselves Programme. The programme will begin on Thursday 26th of Feb at Mint Lane, Lincoln 7-9 pm.


AGM to take place on 16th of May – Times, events and venue to be decided


The meeting was informed that Mint Lane premises, the original site of the SSC, were to become available for classes and other SSC events.


Mike to take on role of SSC secretary. Andrew as thanked for all of the work that he had done.

Finance (sent after meeting)

The SSC has assets of £1955.90. Financial Report 15th February 2015

September general public meeting notes

The minutes and financial statement from our September 6th general meeting are below and can be downloaded here:

SSC notes September 6th 2014

Financial Report Sept 2014

SSC Planning Meeting

Time: 12 noon, Saturday 6th September, 2014

Venue: Croft Street Community Centre

Present: Andrew, Paul, Gerard, Jade, Sarah, David, Joss,   Martha, Mike, Neil, Maria Kety Gordon

Apologies: Wendy, Gary, Laura, Richard, Peaceful, Lucy, Stephen.


The meeting was joined by colleagues from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). They had come to Lincoln to find out about the work of the SSC. They are thinking of setting up a similar initiative outside their own institution, as well as carrying through with some of the associated ideas inside UWS based on their own approach to Student as Producer.

We spent the first part of the meeting telling them about our principles and activities, and were fascinated to hear about the work that they are doing in Scotland. We resolved to keep in touch after the meeting and to find ways of working together.

The second part of the meeting focussed on our meeting agenda. Colleagues from UWS remained as observers, and sometimes added to the discussion.


We agreed to publicise our work on the Croft Street Community Centre website , and to attend the Centres Open day on the 22nd of September. The SSC does not have its own premises and is an independent autonomous organisation not affiliated with any other organisation in Lincoln. At the moment we enjoy making use of other premises around the City. We are looking forward to being more involved with the recently opened Lincoln Share premises and to holding meetings and running events in their new space.

Child care and accessibility

All agreed this is a key issue for the SSC. We want to make our activities as accessible as possible for parents and carers and the children and other for whom they are responsible. We received a report from Sarah on the work of the working group so far. Sarah informed us of the legal implications and liabilities of providing child care facilities. We discussed the benefits and drawbacks of members of the SSC registering with the Disclosure and Barring Service as well as gaining First Aid qualifications and registering with OFSTED. These matter sto be discussed at next meeting when decisions about how to proceed will be taken.

Curriculum Development Planning

We reminded ourselves about the Curriculum Development Planning day and the decisions we had taken. We all agreed to proceed in the way that had been suggested at the planning event: this year’s course to be a research-based curriculum.

Mike and Gerard are to deliver the course this term. This is to be a research-based curriculum organised around an issue to be decided by those involved in the course. As the course is taking place in the Croft Street Community Centre it was felt that the issue could well be a local matter relating to Abbey Ward, the part of the city in which the community centre is located.

MN to write an outline of the course for comments and publicise the course locally. It was agreed that it would be good to advertise the course at the Open Event on the 22nd of September. MN will make contact with other groups operating in Abbey Ward, e.g., Development Plus to ask for advice, support and as a way to plug into local networks.

Membership of the SSC

Joss to redraft proposals for applying for membership to the SSC, based on comments on an earlier draft and discussions from previous meetings and on-line comments. Joss will circulate this paper for further discussion so we can hopefully resolve this matter at the next meeting in October.

Statement of Values

An updated Statement of Values has been rewritten by Andrew. He will send out this redrafted statement again prior to next meeting so we can consider it before confirming it or not at the meeting in October.

Democratic decision making

Paper to be presented for discussion by Sarah and Gary at the November meeting

Business Plan

Mike to finalise draft of Business Plan once the membership issue has been resolved.

Financial report

We have £1426. 89 in the bank

The meeting closed at 2pm.



Minutes from 3rd AGM – May 2014

Below our the minutes from our 3rd AGM on 24th May 2014. The financial report is also attached below.

24th May 2014 12-3pm, Lincoln Grandstand Community Centre.

Apologies: David McCleavey, Peaceful Warrior, Laura Stratford, Richard Hall

Chair: Sarah Amsler

Minutes: Joss Winn

Members present: Andrew M, Stephen H, Tim B, Lucy M, Joss W, Sarah A, Gary S, Mike N, Gerard de Z.


  1. Approval of previous AGM minutes
  2. Constitution
  3. Finance
  4. Social Science Imagination course and projects
  5. Accommodation
  6. AOB


1. The minutes from the previous AGM were approved.

2. We looked at the constitution in detail: Sarah went through the Constitution and asked members to raise any points.

a. Role of consensus, deliberative decision-making, representative. Difference between executive decisions and day-to-day decisions. Members (especially new) need more support in understanding their responsibilities and how consensus works. ACTION: Sarah and Gary to write discussion paper on democratic decision-making. To discuss at follow-up meeting.

b. Members (43 listed/20 ‘active’). What constitutes ‘active’ membership? Andrew: Members should agree to abide by values, etc. Distinction between members and supporters. Associates and non-associate academic members. Need to better define ‘active membership’ in the constitution. Participants on a course are not members necessarily members of the SSC coop. ‘Active’ over a given period. ACTION: Joss to write statement about membership with list of options. Need to provide more support for new members and outline responsibilities of members. To discuss at follow-up meeting.

c. Conflict resolution. How is this dealt with? By consensus. A proposal to the constitution was proposed relating to ‘Termination of Membership’ – “is wound up or goes into liquidation”. ACTION: Propose removal of this part of the clause (Joss).

d. ACTION: Add statement of values to criteria for membership (Joss). We agreed that as an educational organization, it is OK to be wrong and that people learn to think differently.

e. Status and role of monthly general meetings. Needs defining better. E.g. publishing agenda, requirements of members, critical decisions to be discussed/made at each meeting.

f. Our responsibilities under Equality Act. ACTION: Gary to seek advice. ACTION: Mike/Stephen: Seek clarification over liabilities of members?

g. Andrew offered to be secretary. Need description of this role. Agree responsibilities. ACTION: Define secretary role at next general meeting.

3. Stephen gave a report on the finances of the SSC. We have £1774.62 See report. Some invoices outstanding. We agreed to try to use the services of other coops when appropriate. Stephen was voted into his role as Treasurer. Stephen said that we need to revisit the Business Plan as the current projection does not reflect reality. ACTION: Review Business Plan at next general meeting. Financial Report May 2014

4. Members reflected on the SSI course. Mike: Affirm that the SSC is an alternative form of higher education and be critically reflective. Gary: About how we put it into practice. Gerard: What is the problem we are trying to solve? How do we provide an alternative response to that problem? Wendy: SSC should be engaged in local politics. ACTION: Working group (Lucy, Wendy, Sarah, Gary) on childcare. Have something in place by next term, September. Need to talk to people about what we’re doing. Need to be clearer about who we are and the type of activities we do. Tim: Website is out of date. Too many emails. ACTION (All): Curriculum design and reading list for next SSI course to be created during the summer, not immediately prior to start of course. Decide readings, send them out in advance of the course starting. To discuss at next general meeting.

5. Accommodation: We have been invited to join Lincoln Share, a new premises on Beaumont Fee for co-operatives and community groups. Can the SSC afford it? For how long are we committed? We need to look at the space and see if there is somewhere in it that suits us. Andrew expressed concerns about the suitability of the physical space. Child care facilities? Fully accessible rooms? We will try to hold our next Saturday meeting at Lincoln Share so members can see it. ACTION: Get keys for Sat 7th June (Joss).

6. AOB

a. Next AGM will be on 16th May 2015.
b. ACTION: Arrange a follow-up meeting of issues arising from AGM.
c. Need to make members much more aware of what is on the agenda so that decisions are better informed.

Notes from our 2nd AGM

Our AGM was held from 12-4pm on 11th May at the Collection, Lincoln. The first part of the AGM was dedicated to reporting on our membership, finances and other formal matters. You can read the notes from this by clicking on the links below.

Notes of AGM 11th May 2013

Financial Report 11th May 2013

Following this, the majority of the AGM was facilitated by three speakers. First, Mike Ward led a workshop on ethnographic research, based on his doctoral work documenting the lives of young men in South Wales. Then, Joel Lazarus spoke about his project, the People’s Political Economy, which has a number of similarities to the SSC. Finally, Mervyn Wilson, from the Co-operative College, spoke about the increasing number of state schools which are converting to co-operatives and his vision for FE and HE to do the same.

Thanks to everyone who attended. Our next meeting is a workshop this Saturday, 25th May at the Involvement Centre, Mint Lane, Lincoln, where we’ll be asking, “what does ‘Free Co-operative Higher Education’ really mean?” See you there!

Notes from our meeting on 17th March

Actions from the meeting can be downloaded here as well as a financial report.

This account of the meeting held on a particularly cold, dismal, Sunday lunch time is designed to give a flavour for those who could not attend of the discussions and deliberations.

Our thinking, dialogue and reflections for the 90 or so minutes of the meeting were focussed around the following questions:

  • What do we want our meetings to be about and how should we record them?
  • What are we the meanings of the key words: Free, Co-operative, Higher, Education,  that we are taking and using to shape the work of the SSC?
  • What are the boundaries of the work of the SSC?
  • What conceptually is HE outside conversational organisational settings?  How does the concept of the Open Ph.D  play into this ? How can the SSC facilitate people to do PH.Ds through accreditation of priori learning or via published work? Should we be doing this anyway and how do we ensure that we are not unintentionally supporting the ‘marketisation’ of Universities though supporting those that offer these routes?
  • How can we make meaningful and impactful links between the current work of the SSC and work that other alternative higher education groups are doing?
  • How are we securing a coherence between the work David and Vernon are doing vis a vis  the Pathway’s Centre  and that Gary and others s are looking to do other on the St Giles Estate? How can the work of other alternative Higher Ed groups nationally be embraced and benefited from. How do we co-operative advantage across groups and projects.
  • How do we keep the links, in relation to ’levels’  of scholarship, with mainstream provision? Do we need to this ?  How  best can we do this?

Needless to say we merely scratched the surface !

These are important and challenging questions that we will continue to explore together and which as collective positions emerge will provide the substance of what the SSC, as an evolving organism, emerges into next.

Exciting times!!!!