Who are we?

We are a worker-owned agency that designs, builds and supports websites for purpose-driven organisations. We believe in making things better together. We’re based in the UK, Italy and Sweden.

We’re agile, reliable and responsive. We love open source software, and we’re a worker co-op because we believe that’s a fairer way to do business. We take our work seriously and deliver great results, but we know how to have fun, too.

What do we do?

We are a tight and dedicated team of digital strategists, designers, developers and project managers. We work with organisations that value environmental sustainability, social responsibility, equality and human rights and share our vision of a better world for everyone. We are a company with a conscience.

Every project is different, but the building blocks remain the same: with a shared understanding of your strategic objectives and user needs, together, we can create something special.

Quick facts

Industry Digital, Media and Communication
Turnover£1 million
Who are the members?Employees
PayVariable pay
Legal formCompany

How do we operate?

The workforce at Agile Collective consists of employees, members and directors, with individuals who work with us on a less formal basis classed as freelancers or contractors.


An employee is anyone with an employment contract at Agile Collective. All members and directors are employees of Agile Collective, but not all employees are members or directors.


As a worker co-op, members ultimately own and control Agile Collective. We hope that all employees will want to become members.


Directors are legally responsible for the company, but otherwise there is no discernible distinction between director members and non-director members. Only members can become directors.

Freelancers and contractors

We also work with a number of freelancers or contractors from time to time. Freelancers and contractors are not employees and cannot be members or directors.

Our governance

We use principles and practices of Sociocracy to manage the company on a day-to-day basis.

This consists of two main elements:

  • Circles (similar to departments) with a defined remit and powers
  • Decision-making within circles based on consent rather than consensus

Circle Structure

Our current circle structure is flat, with all circles reporting directly to the General Circle, which in turn reports to the Members Circle.

When we started to use Sociocratic principles we found that the quality of our work and relationships improved dramatically.

You can find resources on Sociocracy on our website.

Where did we come from?

Like all the best projects we were born out of a lively pub discussion amongst kindred spirits. Four of our founders (Finn, Luke, Jed and Aaron) had a cooperative web agency they wanted to expand. Richard was a freelance project manager, designer and developer looking to find additional developers to work with. Hedley, who came up with our name, had worked with Richard on some Drupal-based projects and wanted to find more Drupal enthusiasts to work with.

They immediately hit it off over beers and open source conversation at the Oxford Geek Night in the Jericho Tavern. It was techy, designery, problem-solving love at first sight. Within three weeks, Agile Collective was a registered cooperative with six worker members.

We all brought our existing clients with us, including many clients in the environmental sector, such as Eden Project, and several colleges within the University of Oxford, and so were able to hit the ground running. Since then, we’ve never looked back (apart from at our project retrospectives).

Why are we a co-op?

  • We love the worker-cooperative model.
  • It made total sense to us when we set up.
  • Those who do the work own the business. It’s a simple idea but a very powerful one.

Working as a co-op, we can live the change that we want to see in society. We’re a democracy and we embody openness.

These core values come through in our work, the way we work, and the organisations we work with. We’re very fortunate to have worked with some incredible ones over the years, helping them to improve their digital presence and achieve their missions.

We’ve built sites for and worked with Oxfam International, UNICEF, WHO, Action Aid International, Freedom for Torture, War on Want, Co-operatives UK, the Fundraising Regulator, LocalGov Drupal, Ethical Consumer magazine, British Association of Social Workers, Child Poverty Action Group, councils from Croydon to Cumbria, and many more.

The model also means that we can more easily adapt to suit the broader economic and social environment.

For example, we are doing more work around accessibility and usability at the moment because our members have demonstrated there is a need for this that aligns with our mission. The cost of living crisis has meant that clients’ budgets are tighter but at the same time they want to ensure that every penny is creating value for their users; as such we are being more and more for consultancy in the areas we are experts in. We’ve also been more easily able to adapt to UX principles and design thinking and generally keep on top of the changes in our industry in an agile way (pardon the pun).

Lessons learned

One of the most important things we’ve learnt is to stick with your principles and don’t be afraid to shout about them.

In our early days, we were asking questions about the ethics of who we worked with but our processes weren’t well defined and we took on some work for MTV Russia. We admitted it was a bit of a stretch but felt that MTV had had an important role in music and popular culture in the 1980s and we went ahead. It quickly became clear it wasn’t the right client for us. The developers struggled and found it quite stressful.

For example, seeing so many adverts pop up all the time wasn’t what got us (or gets us) going. Since then, we’ve been much more strict about the ethics of those we work with.

We’ve also learnt that talking to clients (and potential clients) about who we do and don’t work with should be a central part of fulfilling our mission. Recently we met a potential client that had links to big pharmaceutical companies. We explained to them that this might be an issue for us. By being a cooperative we don’t have such a pressure to make a profit that is taken out of the company; this gives us more autonomy, and so influence than other startups. Supplier pressure, just like consumer pressure, can be an important tool

Someone once asked us “If I’m BP and I come along with a huge project and I want you to do it, you’d turn me down?!”

Without any hesitation we told them “yes”. The disbelief that they registered shows that we have a long way to go to show just how liberating and powerful being a worker coop can be.

Further reading