Helping UK cooperatives thrive

• Written by Madina Knight, John Gieryn

How do you role-model a democratic workplace?

This was the question on Austen Cordasco’s mind as he set out to integrate new technology to improve decision-making within Co-operative Assistance Network Limited (CAN).

Purpose and community

For more than 30 years, CAN, a workers’ co-op, has catalysed the movement of cooperatives and social enterprises across the UK, helping people work better together through principles of democracy, autonomy, and concern for community.

As a visionary organization committed to empowering and supporting other co-ops, it is important to CAN that they effectively role-model an “active democracy”, where their workers have a voice.

How do we move forward together?

headshot of Austen CordascoHowever, as the organization grew, this was proving to be difficult. CAN’s team is geographically distributed across the UK and the time delay in-between meetings, combined with the chaotic nature of email, was leading to big losses.

Austen, a Director and Worker-Owner of CAN saw an opportunity for their board of directors to be more effective and efficient by adopting an online decision-making tool to aid with governance. They chose Loomio.

The power of making decisions online

“Quality of directorship is dependent on the quality of decisions we make, so Loomio has been game-changing for us,” says Austen.

Using Loomio helps CAN to do their decision-making online and organize different threads of conversation, while Loomio’s proposal tool helps CAN move conversations to clear outcomes, creating shared understanding and impact.

Austen adds that using Loomio enables CAN to “effectively have a director's meeting open all the time,” which not only increases productivity, but also saves money for the organization.

“Our board group has been particularly transformative, enabling continuous governance, improving response times and increasing our agility, resilience and sustainability… Loomio saves us thousands of pounds every year” —Austen Cordasco

More effective co-ops in the UK and beyond

Overall, incorporating Loomio into their company toolbox significantly improves the speed and efficiency of their working together. Undoubtedly, as CAN becomes more agile in their decision-making, they will be able to help even more organizations in the UK put purpose and community at the heart of their work.

Learn more about CAN on their website.

Try Loomio for free, and learn how to make better decisions online, at

Tags: Cooperatives Boards Customer stories Articles and Interviews

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