Co-operative Assistance Network Limited

What we do

CAN has assembled a team of skilled specialists and resources to provide specialist development services and training to co-operatives and community enterprises through business advice, training design and delivery, group facilitation, feasibility studies, development planning support and accessing appropriate funding for the social economy.

CAN delivers these services directly to:

  • co-operatives
  • community groups

and through contracts with:

  • Co-operative Development Bodies (CDBs)
  • local authorites
  • government or European funded projects
  • other organisations concerned with local regeneration and care.

To ensure quality of delivery CAN works to a Professional Code of Conduct and Equal Opportunities Policy so you can be certain that whoever CAN provides, they will do the work to the CAN standard.

Training and Development Needs Analysis, Governance Audits, Project Audits etc.

CAN has developed a series of analytical tools to enable rapid and economic yet accurate benchmarking of strengths and weaknesses of organisations in the social economy and/or their level of legal and governance compliance, resilience, financial performance, or delivery of any project(s). We provide rapid research and analysis and produce management information to enable fast and accurate remedial and improvement actions and progress monitoring.

Training and Assessment

CAN fields a team of four qualified and experienced trainers with specialisms ranging through the broad spectrum of skills and insight required by people to take forward successful and sustainable co-operatives, credit unions, housing co-operatives and social enterprises. The team can respond to requirements to deliver rapidly, ensuring that the stock of training resources developed in-house over a quarter century are configured to meet the precise needs of a particular cohort of learners by delivering one or a series of workshops, training days or short courses. The CAN team has delivered literally hundreds of training events ranging from 3 hours to 30 days from the most accessible entry level to programmes leading to professional qualifications.

CAN has a qualified assessor and the systems required for the monitoring and support of learners preparing for obtaining recognised qualifications.

Training Origination

CAN develops training from seminars to extensive and accredited training programmes leading to recognised qualifications fitting within the UK qualifications framework. Our training team can develop learning objectives, learning measurement and assessment systems, training programmes, learning materials, and exercises, then alpha test all the above and produce advice notes for trainers and training for other trainers to deliver future iterations.


CAN fields a workforce of four consultants with expertise in all aspects of organisation and management, governance, change management, business planning and finance. The CAN way is to walk the walk before we talk the talk so CAN has run as a co-operative and a social enterprise since 1989. It operates as a sustainable business and accounts for itself financially, socially and environmentally, seeking to operate to the highest standards of good governance, transparency and accountability. Our consultants have worked with organisations large and small, young and old, and across trade sectors from archaeology to zero carbon projects.

Key Worker Support

CAN provides a key worker support service, twinning them with our own specialist to provide the comfort of knowing that “getting unstuck” or assistance with a particular thorny issue from an empathetic and expert source of support is just an email away.

Legal Registration Services

CAN's in-house experts and working relationships with registration agents enable development of governing documents that meet legal requirements and the precise needs of new co-operatives and social enterprises as Registered Co-operative Societies or Companies. The team also support the acquisition of additional legal status such as Community Interest Company, Mutual Trading Status, complete or partial change of Rules or Articles and migration from a legal form to one more appropriate. CAN has assisted registration, migration or re-registration of more than two hundred enterprises.

Financial Accountancy

CAN has qualified and experienced Accountancy Technicians and the software and infrastructure to provide computerised book-keeping services and/or payroll and pensions administration remotely, deal with VAT and corporate taxation and draw up financial accounts and statements for year end.  Our expert and qualified finance workers provide feedback and flag up warnings where needed. They can also handle remedial work to repair flawed accounts, set up new financial management systems or migrate accounts from paper-based to computer-based systems.

We can arrange full audit through our associated qualified auditors.

Financial Management

CAN has two workers with decades of experience in developing, implementing and managing systems to generate financial information from book-keeping data and the skill to interpret the information and brief directors on what the information actually means. Both our finance specialists take the level of responsibility required by our customers up to and including serving on Boards as Finance Directors / Treasurers.

Non Executive Director, Treasurer and Company / Society Secretary services

We are able to provide a service to take on any proportion of these roles up to and including taking responsibility for all matters relating to legal / regulatory compliance and record keeping.

Social Accountancy

Our social accounting team operate to a high level of rigour and are able to help organisations assess what it is they actually need to account for and how a system of accounts can be set up utilising or amending existing data streams to provide real insight into effectiveness in pursuit of mission.

Human Resources

We have a highly qualified and experienced HR professional who can handle any or all aspects of the HR function including drawing up contracts of employment, job descriptions, setting up and operating disciplinary and grievance systems up to and including representation at Industrial Tribunal, ensuring employment related policies meet statutory requirements and good practice standards, trade union recognition agreements, staff appraisal systems and personnel record keeping.


CAN have two experienced practitioners to provide a mediation service aimed specifically at the co-operative and social enterprise sector, providing additional benefit in the reporting of opportunities to improve organisational structure, policy and practice indicated through the process.

Feasibility Studies

CAN has experience of carrying out feasibility studies for individual enterprises considering expansion or diversification, for new enterprises, for spin-outs, buyouts and succession plans. Our team has broad experience of many trade sectors and through our long-established network of associates, sub-contractors and project partners can usually find the specific understanding such studies generally require.


CAN has experience of carrying out social economy mapping exercises across counties and regions and in-depth research exercises into development needs and potential of clusters of social enterprises in different geographical and trade areas and related areas such as Employee Involvement. We have a partnership arrangement with a University to ensure proper reflection on research methodologies and the testing and analysis of data.

Project Management

CAN has developed systems for managing, monitoring, auditing and accounting for projects, specifically those depending upon European and Government funding with substantial record keeping and reporting requirements.


There is, of course, much more. If your interest is not mentioned here please check this web site for more detail or contact us to make an enquiry.

Co-operative Assistance Network Limited

is a registered society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014

 No. 30714R 

Registered address: 1-3 Gloucester Road, Bristol, BS7 8AA
VAT Reg. No. GB550027678
DUNS 218127940

UKPRN 10028405
MLR Reg. No. 12704615
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