About us

Scotland’s experts on farmer co-ops and food industry collaboration, we provide a range of specialist information, development and consultancy services to help businesses work together more effectively.

What we do

Now more than ever, it’s vital for farmers and food and drink businesses to work together more effectively - all of SAOS’s work centres on facilitating this.


We are a development organisation owned by our members. We provide a range of specialist services that are not available elsewhere, to assist our members by developing their people and their businessses. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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Refresh Your Company Secretary Skills - A Three Part Webinar Series

13 August 2020

This training will be delivered over a series of three workshops on the following dates - 13th August | 3rd September | 17th September

Delivered via Zoom Meetings

Join us for a relaxed but informative, interactive and inclusive refresher into the role of Company Secretary. This series of FREE workshops is aimed at anyone who is new to the role or those who would like to re-visit its wider responsibilities. They will also be of value to anyone who has an interest in co-op governance. We will be looking in detail at the Company Secretary, the key challenges and specifically what best practice looks like including clarification around co-op rules. Each workshop will end with a Q and A session. If you have any questions you'd like answered then you are encouraged to submit these in advance of the workshop.


James Graham

James has been company secretary of seven co-ops over 30 years and is currently the company secretary of Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group Ltd.  Working with co-ops ranging from livestock marketing, timber marketing, soft fruit processing, to fish processing and SAOS, James has experience of different provisions in co-op Rules, various member commitment and capital arrangements and mutual tax status, as well as dealing with the Registry for Co-operatives, the Financial Conduct Authority.  James was a member of the HM Treasury Working Group that led to the 2014 Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act, and he is joint author of the SAOS / Co-operatives UK Code of Governance for Agricultural Co-ops. James was CEO of SAOS for 21 years, stepping down in 2019.

Jim Booth – SAOS Head of Co-op Development

Jim is well known to all SAOS’ members.  He has a wealth of experience in co-op development, management and governance. He is a qualified trainer with many years’ experience delivering training to farmer directors and co-op managers on a variety of business topics. He also brings practical experience of supporting a variety of co-ops and has an international perspective in the search for best practice in co-op development and governance.

Anna Robertson – SAOS Project Manager

Anna has been a Project Manager with SAOS now for seven years and is involved in supporting and encouraging new and existing co-ops and wider collaborative producer groups to work together for mutual benefit. This role takes a number of different forms and has for a number of years included providing company secretary services to support business operations for the Scottish Organic Milk Producers.


Workshop 1 - 13th August 2020 - 1:15 - 3:00pm 

Roles and Responsibilities

Pre-Q. What are the key issues and challenges company secretaries encounter?

What we will cover:

  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • The Act: Abiding and Complying
  • Members Register
  • Board Meetings (Covid-19 specific)
  • Minute Taking & Agendas
  • Q&A Session


Workshop 2 - 3rd September 2020 - 1:30 - 3:00pm

Sticking to the Rules

Pre-session homework: Please look out your Co-op Rules, we’ve got some questions for you!

What we will cover:

  • The Rules: What they mean and how to update them
  • Special Resolutions and Voting Rights
  • The AGM (Covid-19 specific)
  • Member Agreements
  • Q&A session


Workshop 3 - 17th September 2020 - 1:30 - 3:00pm

Best Practice for Improvement

Pre-Q. What tips do you have to improve governance practice?

What we will cover:

  • Co-op Governance Code
  • Director Induction & Succession
  • Board Policies
  • Organisation is Key
  • Q&A Session

If you'd like to book your place or require any additional information please contact allison.watson@saos.coop or call 07548215669