About Co-operantics


Co-operative skills aren’t just for co-operatives! We believe that these skills – developed in co-operatives of all kinds – can be useful for any groups of people wishing to work together to solve problems or achieve social goals. Of course we consider the co-operative to be the best model for any kind of enterprise, with social aims at its heart and democratic ownership and control its body – but our aim is to promote co-operative ways of working throughout all sectors of the economy.

Co-operantics Mission

To improve co-operative skills* in co-operatives. To promote and develop cooperative skills throughout all sectors of the economy and sections of society.

*Co-operative skills include communication, running effective meetings, decision-making, coping with conflict, negotiation and team working.

Co-operantics can save you money!

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Through learning and practising co-operative skills, workers will be able to reduce workplace tensions and solve conflict, thus saving personnel time and avoiding the need for costly employment tribunals.They will learn how to:

  • give and receive criticism assertively
  • cope with the inevitable conflicts that arise and avoid unnecessary conflict
  • use techniques of principled negotiation
  • make it easy for new members to participate

Other benefits include meetings that are more decisive and more amicable, leading to decisions people will commit to and won’t subvert

How we work:


Our half-day workshops are highly participative and interactive. It’s accelerated learning with materials available for download in advance. Topics include communication, meetings and decisions, conflict management, techniques of principled negotiation and team working.

Consultancy support

We are experience co-operative support practitioners and can provide a range of co-operative business support services.


We offer coaching for individuals and small groups to explore issues around communications, assertiveness, confrontation and negotiation. Coaching can also be used to support project planning, setting goals, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Coaching can be face to face or via phone calls, email and/or Zoom.


We are often asked to facilitate meetings in co-operatives where there has been a breakdown of communications of some kind, and the co-operative needs someone who will be neutral but who also understands the dynamics of co-operative working. We also facilitate members’ days, team-building events and participative planning events.


Throughout this website there are free downloads – tools, tips and techniques for improving co-operative working. These will be of special interest to anyone attending a workshop, since they will be able to download and read them beforehand.

Cooperantics Code of Conduct

Co-operantics mission:

To improve co-operative skills* in co-operatives. To promote and develop cooperative skills throughout all sectors of the economy and sections of society.

  1. As part of the UK co-operative movement Co-operantics will abide by International Co-operative Principles and Values.
  2. We will always respect our clients and act in their best interests, seeking to build capacity rather than developing dependency, whilst recognising that it may be in our clients’ interests to utilise our skills rather than acquire those skills themselves.
  3. We will always respect client confidentiality.
  4. Co-operantics Associates will declare any conflicts of interest where they exist
  5. We will at all times abide by Co-operantics Equality and Diversity Policy, setting and monitoring goals and targets which will be assessed annually.
  6. We will at all times abide by Co-operantics Environmental Policy, setting and monitoring goals and targets which will be assessed annually.

*Co-operative skills include communication, running effective meetings, decision-making, coping with conflict, negotiation and team working.

We have a compliments and complaints policy if anything goes wrong!

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About us

Kate Whittle Glastonbury Social Enterprise Conference 2010

Kate Whittle has been working in the social economy for over 30 years, both in the UK and in the Dominican Republic, where she worked as a volunteer with a federation of co-operatives in the Cibao. She has worked with co-operatives of all kinds, social enterprises, voluntary organisations and co-operative development bodies. On her return from the DR, Kate achieved an MA in Post Compulsory Education and Training from Greenwich University. From 1999 to 2004 she was an Associate at the Co-operative College. From 2003 to 2005 she served on the Board of the Phone Co-op. In 2003, together with Bob Cannell and David Dean, Kate founded  Co-operative Business Consultants aiming to promote participative and co-operative management. Together with Nathan Brown and Alex Lawrie of Somerset Co-operative Services, she developed and taught the Understanding Co-operative Enterprise Unit of the ILM accredited VRQ Level 5 training programme for UK co-operative business advisers. Kate also acts as the Internal Verifier for Jim Brown’s ILM accredited VRQ Level 5 Certificate and Diploma in Social Enterprise Support. Kate was commissioned by Co-operatives UK to develop and run Co-operative Skills Seminars for UK worker co-ops. Kate designed and taught the Strategic Planning and Managing Change seminar. The training was very well received by some of the UK’s largest worker co-ops: Suma, Infinity, Delta-T, Essential Trading and Unicorn Co-operative Grocery.

Kate is  a member of The Phone Co-op, GO-OP Co-operative,  The Bristol Cable, Bristol Credit Union and Bristol Pound. Kate took the Sociocracy leadership Training in 2019 and is a member of Sociocracy For All’s Co-op Circle.

Abbie Kempson has 20 years experience in community organising and worker co-operation. Passionate about co-operative working and building social justice into the heart of our organisations, she has a long-held interest in participatory processes for collective decision making and action, and many years experience of delivering training in meeting facilitation and consent and consensus decision making.

Abbie is a Certified Sociocracy Trainer and has led on implementing sociocratic governance at Unicorn Grocery worker co-op, where she has been a member for the past eight years. She is a founder member of People Support worker co-op, which provides a broad range of advice and support services to co-ops and is also run sociocratically.

Abbie is currently Leader of Sociocracy for All’s Co-op Circle. She was drawn to sociocracy by its practical approach to supporting democratic self-governance and its synergy with the core values of co-operation – from the self-help and self-responsibility of organising collectively to actively contribute to solving problems and improving our lives (whether in work, co-housing, activism, community organising), to supporting equality (one member one voice), equity (fairness through meeting the needs of all who engage) and solidarity.

Abbie is trained as a Barefoot Co-op and Community Business Development Adviser and is currently appointed as an adviser to the UK Co-operative Governance Expert Reference Panel.

Abbie’s latest training course – A Practical Introduction to Sociocracy for Co-ops

Delivered over five online sessions every Tuesday from 6th April 2021, 6.30-8.30pm

More details and tickets available here:


 Contact us:



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