Rulesets Thread


This is a thread for discussing the different types of rulesets that co-ops in general can use.

Note: We will be discussing both the positive and the negative effects of using the different legal mechanisms that we are choosing to work with.

This will allow us to collectively debug the different legal problems we could face, and will allow us to share the costs of building a more resilient legal infrastructure.

Links and resources for this will be held on a separate thread.

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In case it’s useful, this (incomplete) wiki page contains info about the legal forms being used by some of the existing CoTech members.


@BillySmith are you talking about Rules/ Constitutions of legal structures etc? and/ or secondary rules and stuff like Enspiral, Loomio, OuiShare Handbooks?

Either way, nice thread :slight_smile:


The Rules/Constitution:

Every co-op, like every other legal construct in the UK, has to have a set of Articles and Memoranda, that defines what they are doing (Articles) and how they are going to do it, (Memoranda).

One method of streamlining how things can work, is to use a Memoranda Clause, that states the co-op activities have to as defined within the “Policies and Procedures Manual”.

The forms of the “Policies & Procedures Manual” would be the secondary rules’n’stuff, that you mention above.

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There’s a decent number of options, most or all of which are available on the Co-operatives UK website:

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Thank you! :smiley:

I was looking for that.

The link that i had from OneClickOrgs website, only had the old one,

It was one of the bits of linkrot that i mentioned.

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Here’s the full list of Model Rules.

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That is the full list of’s model rules but there are others, I’m a big fan of the Somerset Rules, these are designed for multi-stakeholder co-operatives:


Yeah, there are loads of other model rules.

I’m also a big fan of multi-stakeholder rules like Somerset Rules and FairShares Model Rules too.

And there are loads more too. In terms of model rules for Societies (Co-operative Societies and Community Benefit Societies) see here for a list of “Sponsoring Bodies” who have registered model rules with the FCA.

But of course that doesn’t even cover all the various Company (by Guarantee or by Shares, CIC or not) options out there too! (such as the Company versions of Somerset and FairShares rules).

As I understand it the FairShares Association are working with Co-ops UK to register a set of model Co-op Society rules with the FCA but it’s not happened yet as far as I know…

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Mem and Arts are only if they are a Company.

Societies for example, don’t have Memordanda and Articles, they have Rules.

Unincorporated Associations have Constitutions. etc.

But yeah, they all amount to pretty much the same thing (i.e. Governing Documents).

According to a email I just received from the FairShares Association:

The Financial Conduct Authority has accepted Model Rules for a FairShares Cooperative

The Financial Conduct Authority is the UK’s regulator for Co-operatives and Community Benefit Societies. Their acceptance of our model rules means that people who wish to register bone fide co-operatives in Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland) can register for £40, instead of £995. To prepare a set of rules for your new co-operative, use the FairShares Rules Generator.

As far as I’m aware this means that there are now 3 sets of model rules to choose from if you want to establish a multi-stakeholder co-operative in the UK, the FairShares rules, the Co-operative UK rules and the Somerset Rules (the ones Webarchitects uses).


Happy to share the rules we have just used to set up our coop with you @BillySmith.

We are a company limited by guarantee but with articles that were a remix of those initially created by @sion in his capacity as advisor for The Hive.

We made our selections and exclusions (for example adding a soft asset lock and not-for-profit status) and did a minor remix of it - mostly to add gender-neutral language.

It was a long process to get Companies House to sign this off as the form for this is on paper. Expect at least a month at minimum and a lot of messing, calling them and worrying.

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We’ve done this.

Memoranda with the basics held by Companies House and created on association (who is in the cooperative, who can be, what are the basic rules for meetings, what is it bound by and so on) with a supplementary handbook much like those by Loomio etc digging down into the specifics.

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