Co-operative Sociocracy — making it work for your co-op – Abbie Kempson & Kate Whittle


Abbie Kempson
Member Director of Unicorn Grocery, a 70-member worker co-op twice named the nation’s ‘Best Food Retailer’ at the BBC Food & Farming Awards. With a background in community development and education, Abbie has a long-held interest in participatory processes for collective decision-making and action. She has been leading on a restructure project at Unicorn for the past three years, drawing on sociocratic principles to enhance the co-op’s decision-making processes and meetings.

Kate Whittle
Kate has been working in and with co-ops of all kinds both in the UK and overseas since the mid 80s. For the last 15 years she’s focused on ‘co-operative skills’ training, mentoring and writing, after recognising that at that time, little attention was being paid to these skills, essential for co-operative sustainability. In 2008, together with Nathan Brown, Kate set up Cooperantics, focusing on helping people work together in collectively-managed co-operatives. In 2011 together with illustrator Angela Martin, Kate authored ‘from conflict to co-operation’, published as a set of 5 printed booklets by CUK, updated in 2015 and now available online. Kate discovered Sociocracy through online posts of Ted Rau of SoFA, and undertook the SoLT training course in 2019. She is a member of SoFA’s Co-op Circle.

Drawing on the past two to three years of implementation at Unicorn Grocery and Kate’s many years of experience supporting co-ops in communication and decision making, Abbie and Kate show how to implement sociocracy in a way that works for your co-op.

More on sociocracy in cooperatives on our coop page.