The Co-operative Commission report into the future of the co-operative movement was overwhelmingly endorsed by delegates at this year's annual Co-operative Congress in Birmingham. After a series of warnings from congress president Len Fyfe and TUC boss John Monks that a no vote would "lead the movement down a blind alley," only four votes went against the motion to support the report's recommendations. But it was pointed out in some quarters that "broadly welcoming" the report and implementing it were two different things. At this stage co-operators were asked only to back plans for a further congress later in the year to discuss implementation proposals. A "yes" vote does not amount to an unconditional endorsement of all 60 recommendations. Strong opposition to key proposals within it, such as the introduction of external non executive directors onto co-op society boards, suggests that heated debate has been postponed rather than avoided. It is still not clear what form common branding across the movement might take, although Co-op Union chairman Bob Burlton pointed out that the "proliferation and variation of stores across the country confuses the hell out of people". But TUC director general John Monks said progress had been made concerning the establishment of a Co-operative Foundation to promote the co-operative advantage more effectively. It is significant that Tesco gets more publicity for its computers for schools initiative than the co-ops do for all their community activities put together, said Monks. The foundation will play a key part in redressing this imbalance. Co-op Union president Pauline Green told The Grocer she was confident societies would move quickly to implement the recommendations now the movement had officially backed the report. "We're not hanging about here. Within 18 months I expect to see substantial practical progress to have been made. Many of the recommendations can be implemented immediately." {{NEWS }}