The Seven Cooperative Principles

The cooperative principles are guidelines by which cooperatives put their values into practice. Athletic Community Action Birmingham follows ICA Cooperative Principles.

1) Voluntary and Open Membership

Membership of a Co-operative is voluntary – you can’t be forced into joining, nor can you be excluded because of discrimination.

2) Democratic Member Control

Co-operatives are democratic organisations – they’re controlled only by their members. Members should have democratic control (ie consensus or “one member, one vote”).

3) Member Economic Participation

Members have a fair stake in the co-op, and unlike share capital in a normal company, the stake should only have a nominal return (e.g. so that it doesn’t lose its value due to inflation). This capital can be used as the members decide.

4) Autonomy and Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations. They are controlled only by their members. They shouldn’t make agreements or contracts that would compromise their autonomy or the democratic control by members.

5) Education, Training and Information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members. This is to ensure the development of the co-operative.

Co-ops should also provide education and information to the general public to inform them about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6) Co-operation among Co-operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together. This can be done through local, national, regional and international structures.

7) Concern for Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities.