Good governance is essential for a co-operative to achieve its objectives. There is not a single model or definition for good governance. In essence, good governance is a series of principles that a co-operative would have in place to seek to ensure it achieves its objectives and remains a viable organisation. The governance principles will determine the policies, procedures and practices implemented within an organisation. Co-operatives can be guided by the Co-operative Principles as well as the ASX Good Corporate Governance Principles.
To remain competitive and demonstrate the comparative advantage which co-operatives and mutuals deliver, it is important to measure the economic, social and environmental outcomes achieved and the value created. This can be a challenging task given the different timeframes in which outcomes may be achieved, attributing outcomes to your specific activities and measuring intangible value. However, a number of frameworks now exist to assist co-operatives and mutuals measure outcomes and value.
By measuring the outcomes and value created, co-operatives and mutuals will be better placed to demonstrate their impact to funders, members, clients and other key stakeholders as well as use this information to improve their financial performance.
- What are your inputs into the business or program?
- What are the key activities you undertake?
- What are the activities your partners and stakeholders undertake?
- What are the key outputs from your business or programme?
- What are the medium-longer term outcomes achieved?
- Which stakeholders benefit or are negatively impacted by your activities?
The extent of financial reporting will depend on the size of your co-operative. The Co-operative National Law covers the following aspects:
What records must be kept; financial reports; who can audit financial statements; what type of information must be reported; how the reports are provided to members; what needs to be lodged with fair trading.