Summary of Services Available to Affiliated Members of ICOS
The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) is a co-operative umbrella organisation that serves and promotes commercial co-operative businesses and enterprise, across multiple sections of the Irish economy. As a representative umbrella organisation for the co-operative movement in Ireland, ICOS is focused on driving the evolution of the Irish co-operative sector through the promotion of best practice, change and helping to enhance the sustainability of co-operatives.
ICOS co-operatives and their associated companies collectively have over 150,000 individual members, employ >12,000 people in Ireland (a further 24,000 abroad) and have a combined turnover of €15 billion. Starting from agriculture co-operative roots, and the vision of our founding President, Sir Horace Plunkett in 1894, ICOS today has evolved to serve the co-operative sector in seven core categories, namely:
- Multipurpose dairy co-ops
- Livestock sector co-ops
- Store, trade and wholesale co-ops
- Service-related co-ops
- Community-oriented, culture and leisure co-ops
- Food, fishing and beverage co-ops
- Advisory and education-related co-ops
In the case of start‐up co‐operatives and smaller community type co‐ operatives ICOS assists groups in establishing their co-operative legal entity. For the registration of new co-operatives, ICOS provide interested groups:
- Information on how to start a co-operative
- Information on developing the business case for your co-operative
- Use of ICOS model rules with assistance from ICOS in respect of the basic customisation of these rules to permit their registration with the Registrar of Friendly Societies
- Completion of all documentation required for registration and dealing with all Registry queries up to the point of that Society being registered
The Registry of Friendly Societies (RFS) is responsible for registration new co-operatives in Ireland. ICOS has co-operative model rules that are approved by the Registry of Friendly Societies.
ICOS charge €400 plus VAT for the registration of a set of model rules & advice on the start-up and development of your co-operative and the RFS charge €100 for the registration of these rules. Should the group require significant customisation, there may be a further fee charged by ICOS for this work and the RFS charge €200 for the registration of non-model rules.
For a year after registration, included in the registration fee, ICOS provide a variety of services to new co-operatives. Such services include dealing with requests for advice or guidance by telephone, letter, fax or e‐mail on the following matters: ¬
- General enquiries relating to start‐up and organisation. ¬
- Procedural issues in relation to Board Meetings and General Meetings of ¬
- Advice on, drafting of and processing of straightforward amendments to society’s rule.
- Interpretation of and changes to the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1893 ‐2014 ¬
- Advice on the interpretation of the society’s rule book ¬
- Advice on interpretation and completion of statutory forms ¬
- Advice on shares, share transfers, untraceable members, unclaimed shares and the management of the share register ¬
- Information and advice on the role and responsibilities of the chairman, secretary, treasurer, and chief executive.
- Availability of and application processes for various government and EU grant schemes. ¬
- Advice on Financial matters / Business Planning / Taxation ¬
- Assistance with the organisation and design of co‐operative leadership and business training programmes for Boards and Management.
- ¬Policy Advice for the different co‐operative sectors
Co-operatives registered with ICOS are invited to become an affiliate member a year after registration. The 2015 annual affiliation fee is €542.12. This minimum fee entitles the co‐operative with ongoing advice in the areas outlined above for the tenure of their affiliation.