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What is our Democracy?

  • Learn more about our mutual status and why democracy is important to us.
  • Understand how this benefits you as a Benenden Health member.
  • How does this tie into Democracy for Tomorrow?
Why Democracy is important to us

In this article, we explore Benenden Health’s mutual status and explain why retaining it is so key to what we do as a Society.

How to have your say:

You have between now and 31st August to have your say, don't miss out on this chance to shape the future of Benenden Health.

A Benenden Health membership is much more than looking after your health and wellbeing. We’re a mutual which means all members get the opportunity to have a say in key decisions about how we are run. Being a mutual means that we don’t have any shareholders and therefore all our resources are committed to serving members.

Every Benenden Health member pays exactly the same price each month. All that money goes into a pot to support our members when they need help. Our members put their trust in Benenden Health to use membership funds appropriately to provide them with private healthcare. Our mutuality enables us to be one big community; a community that’s there for each other every day and a community where everybody is equal.

Benenden Health may not be the only mutual you are part of, other big mutual brands include The Co-op and Nationwide Building Society.


As a mutual, we’re run both by and for our members which means you can have your say in how the organisation is run. Benenden Health has been a mutual since it was founded in 1905 to bring people together to pay for medical care when they need it.


When you become a Benenden Health member you're entitled to have your say in how the organisation is run under our mutual status. You have that say through our democratic process which currently involves attending meetings through our branch structure and culminates with decision-making at our annual Conference.

Currently, we have branches throughout the country where meetings are held to encourage involvement and input from our members. Each branch is run by a group of volunteer members who give their time to support Benenden Health. These volunteers form a committee which consists of a Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary plus other Committee Members. Each branch organises at least two meetings each year that members can attend.


We were founded on the vision of many people joining together to help pay for medical care to support those in need. This is still core to our values today and we remain passionate about improving the quality of our members' lives through healthcare. In fact, we believe that Benenden Health has stood the test of time because we’re a not-for-profit organisation and a mutual society that exists for the sole benefit of our members.

Currently, only 0.4% of our members engage in our democracy and we want to hear from more of you. The Democracy for Tomorrow proposal puts forward a way for more members to get involved with our democracy in ways that suit them best. Rather than attending meetings to have their say, and changes only being able to be made at our annual Conference, the proposal gives members the power to influence change all year round and get involved in-person and online at a time that works around their day-to-day commitments.

Ultimately this opens the door for more members to get involved. The more members that get involved, the more views and ideas we have and the better we can make the health and wellbeing services you receive.


As a mutual The Democracy for Tomorrow proposal recommends that the Society introduces a new democratic structure that offers our members several channels of engagement, to encourage more members to have their say. It includes four key elements:

Where members can share views and ideas in person or online.

Where voting and decision making is available to all Prime members via online or by post.

A forum that will give a voice to members at the highest level, regularly consulting with the Board.

Where delegates will attend to share their members' views and discuss health and wellbeing matters.