Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy


Mutuals are member organisations which are owned by their members and serve a particular purpose. Most mutuals operate in the financial services sector including insurance or banking. Additional areas of operation include health care, community projects and other social or environmental organisations.  
Mutual societies usually do not operate in order to make profit but rather to benefit their members. Funds are collected from the membership base which are then shared among those members who require the services provided by the mutual.


The majority of mutuals are run by a board of directors on behalf of the members. The board of directors is usually elected by the members but can also be elected by delegates if the mutual operates in several regions across the country.  Elections are typically conducted either at the AGM or by postal vote. Some mutuals already vote online because it's more convenient for their voters, e.g. if the mutual has a large membership base.

Typical mutuals include friendly societies, credit unions, building societies and community benefit societies. Moreover, cooperatives are also based on the concept of mutuality. 

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