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At our annual conference in Portlaoise, two weeks ago, ICOS announced the establishment of the Plunkett Institute for Co-operative Governance, an initiative to develop the governance skills of existing and future Co-operative leaders. The Institute will provide a framework for the establishment of best practice in Co-operative Governance, for the promotion of training and skills development, and for the recognition of the vital role played by farmer Directors in the leadership and development of our commercial agri co-operatives.

Irish farmers are deeply involved the strategy development and decision making processes driving multi billion euro commercial co-operatives. The role they play is often misunderstood and poorly appreciated. The Plunkett Institute aims to communicate to ordinary farmer members and to stakeholders, the importance of the leadership function, and to develop a greater understanding of Co-operative Governance structures, and create a pipeline of young, informed, trained potential future leaders.

The Plunkett Institute will publish and promote a set of Principles for Good Co-operative Governance, as well as a Code of Ethics for members of Co-operative Boards. The Institute will provide training and development programmes for current and aspiring Directors, as well as operating a programme of Continuing Professional Development, whereby farmer leaders can carry in their own professional development right throughout their careers.

Current and aspiring Directors will be invited to join, and will be accepted to membership on completion of basic training, on agreeing to comply with the Good Governance Principles and the Code of Ethics, and on agreeing to participate in the Continuing Professional Development Programme.

For more details check out our website at:  www.plunkettinstitute.ie