Unimed Brazil, a model of cooperative governance

Given growing competition in the health sector and the increasingly demanding legislation of the Brazilian government, Unimed Brazil felt the need for is management to work in a more professional manner and in 2010 established an Organisational Development Plan to formalise and guide the strategic decisions of the organisation, thus improving the management model qualitatively and quantitatively.

One of the aims of the Plan was the implementation of a cooperative governance model to facilitate transparent and fair management which clearly defined all the processes and functions at the heart of the cooperative. Thus adapting the regulations of corporate governance but in a way that respects the characteristic values of Unimed.

Unimed President Eudes de Freitas Aquino

Unimed President Eudes de Freitas Aquino

One of the aims of the Plan was the implementation of a cooperative governance model to facilitate transparent and fair management which clearly defined all the processes and functions at the heart of the cooperative. Thus adapting the regulations of corporate governance but in a way that respects the characteristic values of Unimed.We believe that by adopting cooperative governance Unimed commits itself to values such as transparent management, accountability, equality and corporate responsibility therefore avoiding any improper behaviour and eliminating inefficient management processes. In order to ensure the success of this commitment a communication process was established for the cooperative governance model covering all aspects of the Unimed system, making it possible to standardise concepts and values.

We believe that by adopting cooperative governance Unimed commits itself to values such as transparent management, accountability, equality and corporate responsibility therefore avoiding any improper behaviour and eliminating inefficient management processes. In order to ensure the success of this commitment a communication process was established for the cooperative governance model covering all aspects of the Unimed system, making it possible to standardise concepts and values.Exercising governance is one of the main challenges of all organisations, and even though there are no universal regulations applicable to all of these, it is well known that the adoption of good practices properly adapted to the activity of the organisation tends to provide reliable long-lasting results which are satisfactory to all the interested parties, including cooperative doctors. In order for an organisation to attain the goals set it must define principles, guidelines, efficient controls and good management practices, all elements connected with good corporate governance. Moreover, a company that operates transparently in all its segments in a clear, ethical and responsible way is bound to be better respected in the market.

Exercising governance is one of the main challenges of all organisations, and even though there are no universal regulations applicable to all of these, it is well known that the adoption of good practices properly adapted to the activity of the organisation tends to provide reliable long-lasting results which are satisfactory to all the interested parties, including cooperative doctors. In order for an organisation to attain the goals set it must define principles, guidelines, efficient controls and good management practices, all elements connected with good corporate governance. Moreover, a company that operates transparently in all its segments in a clear, ethical and responsible way is bound to be better respected in the market.However, cooperatives have their own principles, different to those of other types of company. This is why the concept of corporate governance must adapt to the seven cooperative principles and in our case, also to the specific nature of our sector, health. Corporate governance becomes cooperative governance.

However, cooperatives have their own principles, different to those of other types of company. This is why the concept of corporate governance must adapt to the seven cooperative principles and in our case, also to the specific nature of our sector, health. Corporate governance becomes cooperative governance.
By applying cooperative governance we seek the excellence of all the cooperatives and organisations within the Unimed system, thus strengthening our brand now that we are modernising medical work and making it more competitive and better value.In short, cooperative governance must be part of the institutional mission of the largest medical cooperative system in the world, along with research in excellence in management and in resource administration and compliance with legislation and communication with all interested parties.

In short, cooperative governance must be part of the institutional mission of the largest medical cooperative system in the world, along with research in excellence in management and in resource administration and compliance with legislation and communication with all interested parties.Good corporate governance

Good corporate governance

The term “corporate governance” was coined by Richard Ellis in 1960 to describe the policies of companies in the same way as those of national governments. Globalisation and the huge growth of some corporations, as well as the financial scandals of the 2000s prompted companies and governments to invest in the promotion of corporate governance. At present, stock markets classify companies in accordance with their level of good governance, examining aspects such as the transparency of information, guarantees offered to shareholders, particularly minority shareholders, or sustainability. The concept of good corporate governance refers to the organisation as a whole, including partners, employees, suppliers, clients and competitors, and establishes a line of responsible behaviour committing the company to quality, not only in products and services, but also in social and labour relations. By adopting these values organisations earn the recognition of the market and the respect of society.The implementation of a good corporate governance system improves the decision-making process at upper management level, clearly separating the functions of shareholders, managers and executives, as well as the functions to evaluate compliance and payments, limiting the chances of corruption and improving the organisation’s image.

The implementation of a good corporate governance system improves the decision-making process at upper management level, clearly separating the functions of shareholders, managers and executives, as well as the functions to evaluate compliance and payments, limiting the chances of corruption and improving the organisation’s image.

Nevertheless, the cultural and organisational diversity of each country does not allow a single model answering all aspects of the structure of capital, accounting regulations or the relationship with shareholders. This is why there are different models such as the Anglo Saxon, German, Japanese, Latin European or Latin American models.From good governance to cooperative governance

From good governance to cooperative governance

The Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance describes corporate governance as a system for directing, controlling and encouraging organisations that involves owners, executive and governance bodies. Good governance practices transform principles into objective recommendations through the use of internal regulations, decision-making channels and roles and codes of conduct.

Cooperatives differ from other types of companies in aspects such as social capital, the indivisibility of reserves and the distribution of results in accordance with activity or the right to vote of members linked to people and not to capital.

Taking into account these characteristics cooperative governance can be described as the set of mechanisms and internal and external controls which allow stakeholders to define and ensure compliance with the objectives of the cooperative, thus guaranteeing its continuity and cooperative principles.

Cooperative governance is built on good practices in aspects including representation, participation, strategic management, executive administration and internal and external control. Its development ensures the transparent flow of relevant information, the protection of the rights of all partners and other interested actors and accountability before all governance bodies.