History and Governance

Established in 1905, the purpose of SAOS is to strengthen the profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of Scotland’s farming, food and drink, and related rural industries and communities through the development of co-operation and joint venture.

SAOS is a development organisation owned by its membership, which comprises businesses constituted in accordance with co-operative principles, or whose primary purpose is to benefit their owners or communities through their use of services or amenities, rather than as reward for funds invested.

SAOS is owned by its member businesses. As well as directing and governing us in accordance with our Board and Council Charter, they participate in, and benefit from, much of the work that we do. In addition to exerting influence on their behalf, we provide a range of specialist services that they have requested, that are not readily available from other providers.

Read the SAOS Governance Charter

Governance Services
The success of co-op businesses depends on the effectiveness with which directors discharge their roles and responsibilities.

For the first time, in 2014, a comprehensive governance code especially for agricultural co-ops was drafted which is available for co-op members, directors and managers. SAOS and Co-operatives UK worked jointly on the code, drawing on experiences of both organisations to produce the publication.

Agricultural Governance Code 

Download our previous Governance Standards Booklet PDF