This document sets out the procedure for processing applications to join the Co-operative Party and the roles of Head Office and local parties.

Co-operative Party membership is open to all individuals who share our values and principles and meet the conditions laid out in the Rules of the Co-operative Party Ltd and the Membership Rules section of the Rule Book.

The Co-operative Party now has a national membership system, this means that all membership applications are submitted to and processed by Head Office with details of new members then sent to branches and party councils to follow up.

Membership process

The stages in processing new member applications are set out below in the table below:

Membership conditions

 Members must satisfy the following conditions as laid out in the Rules:

  • Be a member of a recognised co-operative;
  • Be at least 14 years of age;
  • Pay the relevant membership fee;
  • Not be a member of another political party other than the Labour Party or SDLP;
  • Sign the following declaration:

    I declare myself a Co-operator, and agree to accept the programme, policy and constitution of the Co-operative Party, national and local. I will do all in my power to promote the policy of the Co-operative Party as declared from time to time. I am not a member of any political Party other than the Labour Party or the Social Democratic and Labour Party. I am a member of a recognised co-operative as determined by the National Executive Committee of the Co-operative Party.

Joining a co-operative

 All members must be a member of a co-operative society to be a member of the Co-operative Party. New members who are not a member of a recognised co-operative have eight weeks from when they apply to become a member of a co-operative.

Head Office writes to all new members to inform them of this requirement and provides details of societies they can join. In addition, branch membership officers are asked to make contact with new members to inform them of their local retail co-operative and other local co-ops they may wish to join, such as credit unions. You can find out more information about this on our website at party.coop/join-a-co-operative

 Party council approval and membership rights

 The party council must decide within three months if it wishes to accept a membership application and raise any concerns with Head Office.

When a member joins they can take part in meetings as a visitor but cannot vote. They also receive a membership card within two weeks, however this does not necessarily mean acceptance of membership. If they have been accepted, they will receive full membership voting rights after three months. To stand for election for local party offices, members should normally have six months’ continuous membership, subject to any freeze dates agreed by the National Executive Committee.

Further information

If you have any questions about the Membership Procedure please contact the Membership Team: email membership@party.coop or phone 020 7367 4151. You can also find more in the Rule Book at: party.coop/the-rule-book