Independent public interest journalism that has community benefit at its heart
Exeter Observer is published by Exeter Observer Limited, Community Benefit Society No. 8435 registered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.
As a community benefit society, Exeter Observer conducts its business for the benefit of the community at large and is owned and run democratically by its members. Members hold shares in the society and are accorded democratic rights on a one-member-one-vote basis regardless of the number of shares they hold (in contrast with the company convention of one-share-one-vote).
Exeter Observer is a true non-profit organisation bound by a statutory asset lock: any surplus or assets can only be used for the benefit of the community, in accordance with the society’s objects.
Membership is open in principle to any person who supports the purpose of the society and agrees, when acting as a member, to act in the interests of the society and for the benefit of the community as a guardian of the objects of the society.
If a community benefit society is sold, converted, or amalgamated with another legal entity its assets must continue to be used for the benefit of the community and cannot be distributed to members.
Exeter Observer’s members appoint a board of directors at annual general meetings to oversee the society’s affairs. The directors are accountable to the membership, and are responsible for supervising any executive staff who run the business.
The board appoints officers and can also temporarily appoint directors and co-opt board members between annual general meetings. A chair may also be appointed, who has the casting vote.
The procedures by which these decisions are made are laid out in the society’s Rules, a legally-binding constitutional document which also defines the society’s aims and objects and how the society is managed.
The society’s aims are to produce, publish, distribute and promote free, independent public interest community journalism in newspapers, periodicals and other media in order to inform, inspire and empower people who live or work in and around Exeter, strengthen civil society and enable more effective participation in local democracy.
Ways in which the society may carry out its objects include:
- scrutinising, investigating and reporting on the activities of government, business and third sector organisations;
- holding wealth, power and the influence of individuals and institutions to account;
- increasing public understanding of complex systems and decision-making;
- stimulating more inclusive and better-informed deliberation and debate;
- and representing the interests of communities and reflecting their cultural life;
- without political or commercial bias or affiliation to any formal religious or political group;
- facilitating training and education, hosting workshops and events; and,
- carrying out other activities that support the fulfilment of these objects and maintain editorial independence and operational autonomy.
The society’s registered Rules are available to download in full from the FCA website.
Exeter Observer is published by Exeter Observer Limited, Community Benefit Society No. 8435 registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.
Our registered address is St. Sidwell’s Community Centre, Sidwell Street, Exeter EX4 6NN.