New Co-operative partnership – A Guest Blog from Antonia Blinkhorn of The Phone Co-op

We are so happy to have started a new partnership with The Coop Credit Union recently as a result of our Member Engagement.

Member Engagement is one of our key aims throughout everything that we do and we were really pleased that a great example of this occurred at our 2014 AGM. An enquiry was made about joining with the separate Co-operative Credit Union – this was followed up – links were put in place and now their members and employees can take advantage of their services – democracy and member ownership in action.

The Co-operative Phone & Broadband, The Co-operative Mobile and The Co-operative Business Telecoms are all provided by The Phone Co-op, the UK’s only telecommunications provider that is 100% owned by its customers. At The Phone Co-op we put people at the top of our agenda. Of course, we have to make a profit and re-invest in order to keep the business growing and developing, but we don’t pay high dividends to fat-cat investors or directors; instead we share it with our customers who choose to become our members.

When we say that ‘We’re all about people’, it isn’t just a marketing slogan, it’s something we can prove because we place people first in everything that we do. In a nutshell, there are five areas that highlight how people come first for us: our customers, our members, our colleagues, our community and not forgetting our planet.

We offer a very personalised service to our customers that is based at our offices in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire and in Manchester. This UK based team are all multi-skilled, meaning that the person who answers your call will be able to answer your question. Unless that is, it’s a technical issue, in which case they will explain your situation to our Tech Team who will then provide you with an answer!

As we are owned by those customers who chose to become our members where everyone has an equal say in how we’re run. We have two meetings each year, which all members are invited, to hear our latest results and discuss new products and developments. At our last AGM, our sales increase of 6% was announced with profits before distributions remaining strong at £339.000. This meant that an agreement was made on the 1.5% “co-op divi” pay-out of £57,800.

We are a Living Wage employer which is not only good for our colleagues but also for the business and society as a whole. We run an equal profit-sharing scheme and the difference between the highest and lowest paid is under a ratio of 4:1. Another attribute showing how there are no fat cats at The Phone Co-op.

One of our principles is to always work with other co-operatives, social enterprises or local organisations to support our Community. Our members also agreed at our recent AGM to give £57,800 of our profits to support the development of new and expanding co-operatives through The Phone Co-op’s Co-operative and Social Economy Development Fund whose fund to date is £305,000. We were also one of the first three pioneers of Fair tax as we pay our fair share of tax and believe all other businesses should.

So if you like the sound of how we operate and share similar values, then please ask yourself – “Why aren’t I with The Phone Co-op?”

Please see further details on the communication services we provide on our website – Alternatively you can speak to us on the phone 01608 434222 or email us