Loomio

Wobbly: Virtual Global Coop Incorporation?

JE
John Evans Public Seen by 155

Hello there! I'm John from Wobbly, an open-source messaging app for unionising workers (and hopefully cooperatising some businesses).

We currently use platform6 to host our opencollective, where we collect donations to pay our (currently quite limited) infrastructure fees.

We're looking at incorporating in order to get grant funding and publish our app on stores (apple requires a legal org). I've used coopsUK in the past to incorporate a coop. Today I went through their select-a-structure tool and was recommended a private company limited by guarantee to host Wobbly.

I've talked with Leo a bit, and understand that p6 might be able to help with the incorporation process? As far as I understand it the main task is to write a set of articles for the rules, and to have a physical location to attach to the organisation on companies house.

Can I schedule a call or something to get more information?

G

Graham Tue 14 Jan

Hi John. Apologies for slow response. I'm sure we'd be keen to assist where we can. Both @Mark Simmonds (Co-op Culture & Platform 6) and @Austen Cordasco on our board have deep expertise on legal structures and options, and there will be others here in the P6 community who have lots of knowledge on this stuff. As far as I know the company limited by guarantee option is good cos it's lightweight and low cost, and can work well for a worker co-op type org. What's the expectation in terms of Wobbly - is it planned to be worker controlled, or are you thinking more of a platform co-op type of approach where users or other stakeholders (TUs perhaps) might also be co-op members?

JE

John Evans Sun 19 Jan

Worker controlled initially but with the flexibility to add new member classes over time

SW(

Hi John, sounds like a CLG is appropriate unless you need to raise equity from members? Coops UK has downloadable model articles and rules for different typologies of coop, easily amendable in most respects for futureproofing. Their worker coop CLG model is basically an employee coop but you can flex it to include self-employed and volunteer worker members. I attach the basic model template. It talks about traditional meetings, Directors, AGMs and voting but you can flex the interpretation of that, too, to facilitate an element of asynchronous decision making (e.g. three week long meetings in Loomio!), consensus, sociocracy etc. I’ll be glad to advise further,

JE

John Evans Sun 19 Jan

Thank you very much, I'll look over this!

AC

Austen Cordasco Tue 21 Jan

Alternatively, you could incorporate as a registered society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. The registrar is the Financial Conduct Authority (for historical reasons) rather than Companies House and as such gives greater protection against future generations of Members converting it to a vehicle for personal enrichment. Directors and Members still get Limited Liability but the governing document is referred to as the Rules rather than the Articles of Incorporation. You could register as a Workers' Co-op and convert to a Multi-stakeholder Co-op (by replacing the entire rule set) or you could start as a Multi-stakeholder Co-op if you know what categories of membership you are going to need. Model Rules attached.

NB(

Hi John. Are you speaking to anyone at IWW as I'm aware messaging/comms is an ongoing issue. Potential customer

JE

John Evans Sat 25 Jan

Yes we have a few contacts there. The most involved is Pete Davies, who's the chair of the organising department, I believe.