What is a co-op?
A co-operative is a type of business or organisation that is owned and controlled by its members. Co-ops exist all over the world in all kinds of industries – from housing and healthcare to technology and education – and are increasingly common in the creative economy. However, the DFC is the first trade body in the UK film industry to incorporate as a co-op.
There are different kinds of co-ops but they all share a commitment to the same co-operative principles and values. From multi-million pound businesses to community-led enterprises, all co-ops are independent, democratic, and run by and for their members to address shared needs or interests. You can find out more about co-ops at Co-operatives UK, the representative body for UK co-operatives (of which the DFC is a member).
Governance structure and values
The DFC is a type of co-operative called a Charitable Community Benefit Society (CCBS). A Community Benefit Society is a specific type of co-op that is owned and controlled by its members for the benefit of a wider community – in this case all the people and organisations involved in the UK documentary community.
The DFC’s charitable status means that it benefits from the financial advantages afforded to charities but, because it is a co-op, the DFC is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rather than the Charities Commission and thus has fewer regulatory obligations. More importantly, the DFC’s charitable status means the DFC explicitly exists ‘for the public benefit’ and cements an understanding documentary as a public good – good for society, culture and democracy – at the heart of the organisation.
Owned and run by and for its members, the DFC is the first democratic, sector-wide organisation for the UK's independent documentary film industry.