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Industrial Common Ownership initiatives (ICOM and ICOF) and Scottish Co-operative Development Committee (SCDC) operational papers

This sub-series consists of 9 files:
-ICOM, ICOF and SCDC operational papers, November 1976 to March 1977
-ICOM, ICOF and SCDC operational papers, March 1977 to October 1977
-ICOM, ICOF and SCDC operational papers, October 1977 to June 1978
-ICOM, ICOF and SCDC operational papers, May 1978 to September 1978
-ICOM, ICOF and SCDC operational papers, October 1978 to March 1979
-ICOM, ICOF and SCDC operational papers, April 1979 to October 1979
-ICOM, ICOF and SCDC operational papers, November 1979- November 1980
-ICOM, ICOF and SCDC operational papers, November 1980- December 1981
-ICOM, ICOF and SCDC operational papers, January 1982- May 1988

These papers include agendas and minutes, reports and correspondence relating to the operations of the Industrial Common Ownership Movement (ICOM), Industrial Common Ownership Finance (ICOF), and Scottish Co-operative Development Committee (SCDC).

Industrial Common Ownership Movement (ICOM)
Established in 1971, ICOM promoted co-operative working during a ‘new wave’ of producer co-ops in the 1970s. In 1976 ICOM published a set of Model Rules to enable enterprises to adopt a common ownership legal structure, quickly and inexpensively. There was an amendment of these rules in February 1977 when ICOM was given official recognition as a relevant body within the meaning of Section 1(5) of the ICO Act 1976, providing them with a grant of £20,000 per year for 5 years, to assist in providing advice about all aspects of the setting up of common ownership and co-operative enterprises. The ICOM model rules were simple enough for enterprises to follow without having to employ a lawyer to write a constitution or interpret legal jargon. It merged with the Co-operative Union in 2001 to form Co-operatives UK.

Industrial Common Ownership Finance (ICOF)
ICOF was established by ICOM in 1973 to be a revolving loan fund. It was formed as a company limited by guarantee and without shares; it was administered by Trustees who were appointed by the Members. Members were people who expressed an interest in the financing of common ownership enterprise and had been accepted by the Council of ICOM and by the ICOF Trustees. From 1976 people from the Co-operative movement and the Trade Union movement were invited to join the Trustees. In January 1977 ICOF was formally recognised by the Secretary of State for Industry as a ‘relevant body’ with access to the loan fund of £250,000 provided under section 1(2) of the Industrial Common Ownership Act 1976 to encourage the creation and development of common ownership enterprise and industrial co-operatives. This source of funding lasted until 1981; no further funds were made available from national Government. Successful common ownership enterprises and sympathetic individuals also provided funds to ICOF. From 1981 the bank of England informed ICOF that it was illegal for them to receive deposits for on-lending as they were not licenced as a deposit-taking institution. Seeking alternative means of generating funds they began to work with local authorities (West Midlands County Council, Grater London Council). Since 2005 ICOF has traded as Co-operative and Community Finance.

Scottish Co-operative Development Committee (SCDC)
SCDC was formed in February 1977. In June 1977 it was recognised by Government as an official advisory agency for co-operatives under the Industrial Common Ownership Act 1976. It received funds from Industrial Common Ownership Finance, the ‘designated body’ under the Act. The SCDC was set up to encourage the growth of workers’ co-operatives in Scotland and to promote the growth of a co-operative sector in the economy. Its objectives were to foster the growth of workers’ co-operative enterprises in Scotland in the belief that for workers to own, to control and to shape the organisations in which they work is:
a) a means by which they can more certainly exert an influence over their economic situation, replacing exploitation and conflict by co-operation
b) an extension of the democratic process, by making industry accountable to its workers and sensitive to the wider community
c) a means by which workers can grow as persons, developing their own abilities for the common good.
The organisation now operates as the Co-operative Development Agency

Industrial co-operatives related articles, reports and publications

This sub-series consists of 2 files:
-Industrial co-operatives related articles, reports and publications, 1973-1979
-Scottish Co-operative Development Committee (SCDC) course articles, c1994

An industrial co-operative is an enterprise owned and controlled by the people who work in it. The members of the co-operative decide between themselves in a democratic way what to do and how to organise the work.