Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Co-Op Group Launch Internet Poll on Future; BANKING

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Co-Op Group Launch Internet Poll on Future; BANKING

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT GIBSON robert.gibson@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE Co-operative Group is asking people to have their say on the troubled mutual's future after admitting it "lost touch" with customers and communities.

It has launched an online nationwide poll in the biggest ever piece of research carried out by the group as it seeks to move on from a dismal 2013 following financial woes at its banking arm and the scandal involving its former bank chairman Paul Flowers.

Group chief executive Euan Sutherland pledged to listen and act on views of those who take part in the survey, including customers, members, staff and the wider public.

He said: "In recent years The Cooperative Group has lost touch with its customers and members and with the communities in which it operates - we haven't been listening."

He added: "We will be asking people up and down the country what they believe The Co-operative should really stand for. This is an unprecedented move for an organisation of the size and the scale of The Co-operative and the results will feed directly into our wider review of strategy and purpose."

The survey - at www.haveyoursay.

coop - asks a broad range of questions, from how to improve its goods and services to thorny issues such as whether the Co-op should make political donations.

Lord Myners, the former City minister who has been tasked with leading a review of the Co-op's governance structure, revealed last month that the group's controversial PS1m annual donation to the Labour Party was to be slashed as it looks to save money.

There have been questions over Labour's links to disgraced former Co-op Bank chairman Mr Flowers, who was a Labour councillor, and has been embroiled in scandal after he was arrested as part of a drugs investigation.

Mr Sutherland said the group would consider axing political donations completely if the vast majority of those quizzed in the survey said it should. …

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