Meetings in Co-operative Societies

Definition:   A meeting is the gathering or coming together of at least two persons for a lawful purpose.  A meeting then consists of two or more persons.

When members of a co-operative society come together to discuss matters concerning their cooperative, the meeting is lawful. the meeting of a co-operative society is said to be private because only members can attend and participate in passing resolutions.

Meetings are important for the success of any organization.  there are two main classes of meetings in co-operative societies.  these are:

•   General Meetings

•   Committee Meetings

General Meetings

General meetings are meetings where all members of a co-operative society attend. the supreme authority of a co-operative society is vested in the general meeting.  this is where members have the right to attend, participate and vote on all matters.  the two types of general meetings are:

•   Annual General Meetings

•   Special General Meetings

Annual General Meetings

The functions of the annual general meetings are: (section 27 of the Act)

  • Consider and confirm the minutes of the last annual general meeting.  the annual general meeting of a co-operative society is convened each year by the committee. it should be held within four months after end of the financial year (Section 27 of the Act).  this is when members exercise their authority.
  • Reading the notice convening the meeting
  •  Consider the minutes of the last annual general meeting and any other intervening general meeting.
  • Consider reports of the committee and any from the commissioner.
  • Consider and adopt audited accounts.
  • Determine the manner in which any available surplus is to be distributed or invested.
  • Approve the estimates of income and expenditure of the ensuing year.
  • Carry out elections to fill any vacant positions.
  • Determine, where necessary, the maximum borrowing power of the society.
  • Appoint auditor for the ensuing year.
  • Transact any other general business of the society of which notice has been given to
  •  Members in the manner prescribed in the by-laws.
  • The quorum of AGM of any SACCo Society shall be as laid in by-laws

The annual general meeting is the mirror of the society.  if the co-operative is growing and making progress, this will be seen in the annual general meeting. this is the occasion when members exercise their ownership, authority and control of the co-operative.

Special General Meeting

A Special General Meeting of a co-operative society may be convened by:

  • The committee for the purpose of discussing any matter which may arise in the society before the annual general meeting is due.
  • The committee on receipt of a written notice for such meeting signed by such number of members of the co-operative  society as may be prescribed in society’s by-laws and stating the objects and reasons for calling the meeting. If the committee fails to convene a meeting within 15 days of receiving the notice from the members, the members demanding the meeting may themselves convene the meeting by giving notice to the other members of the co-operative society stating the objects and reasons for the meeting and the fact that the committee has failed to convene the meeting.
  • The Commissioner for Co-operative development, who may direct the matters to be discussed and who may preside at the meeting will not need a quorum

There is no fixed number of special general meetings to be held in a year.  the number will depend on the frequency at which urgent issues arise. As much as possible, all important matters should be properly planned for and addressed during the annual general meeting.

Committee Meetings

In every registered co-operative society, members elect the committee to run the affairs of the society on their behalf.  the committee should consist of five, seven or nine members.

In order to carry out duties entrusted by the general meetings, the committee members hold regular meetings. the frequency of the committee meetings depends on the business of the society, but they should normally be held monthly and at least quarterly.  the discussions during the meetings include:

•   to consider and confirm the minutes of the previous meetings.

•   to discuss and check the accounts of the society (liquidity position).

•   to receive and discuss various reports of the society (includes activity and sub committee reports).

•   to discuss the financial obligations of the society (creditors and other commitments).

•   to discuss any other matters that affects the running of the business of the society.

•   to discuss membership growth, withdrawal, staff matters

•   to discuss product and services development

•   to discuss loan delinquency management among other things

Sub-committees – When the committee finds that some matters need more detailed work and reports, sub-committees are elected from among the elected members of the committee. Such committees have only delegated powers and have to report back to the main committee on their work.

The number of sub-committees and the frequency of sub-committee meetings is dictated by the volume and nature of business.

All meetings should have meeting schedules prepared and approved by the full board. this will assist in proper planning and budget allocation. Sub-committees should normally meet earlier and then present their reports to the full committee meeting for adoption and discussion.

Ad-hoc Committees – these may be formed to address specific tasks, and they will cease to exist when the work assigned to them is accomplished.

Joint Meetings

The management committee and the supervisory committee are expected to hold joint meetings quarterly. this is after the supervisory committee has compiled its quarterly report.

The Supervisory Committee should present its report to the meeting for discussion and response from the society committee on the various issues raised.  After presenting the report,  the management committee should be left to make decisions on how to address the issues raised and not yet addressed.

The manager of the society should attend all committee meetings to offer advice on technical and professional matters.

 

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7 Responses

  1. Keep on writing, great job!

    • Thanks. I will do. Cheers.

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