Message From the Chair

Andrew BurnsAs a council leader, a ward councillor, and a member of my local community, I understand the scale of the challenges that we are all facing locally.

Many communities are disengaged from local democracy; councils can seem like distant bureaucracies; and, as organisations, we as councils are struggling to manage huge funding reductions just as local people are putting more and more demand on local services.

If councils are going to survive in this context, and if communities are going to thrive, then we all need to start doing things differently. We need to work together, in genuine and equal partnership with local people, to make the most of the strengths that lie in our communities. We need to step out of the town hall and back into communities to tackle old issues in new ways. Most importantly, we must drive real innovation, with local people at its core, if we are to face the challenges ahead of us.

This is exactly why the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network exists. We believe that the co-operative principles of empowerment, equal partnership, and collective action offer a positive route not simply to survive through tough times, but to enable local communities to thrive, supported by relevant, meaningful, and empowering local public services.

The network gives us the opportunity to share what works, learning from each others’ practical experiences to translate cutting-edge policy thinking into hands-on practice right across the country. Our work is defining the future of local public services – not for local people, but with local people – and putting local people back at the heart of what we do.

Cllr Andrew Burns

Chair of the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network
Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council

Message from Steve Reed OBE MP, Honorary President of the CCIN

Steve Reed MPThe Co-operative Councils Innovation Network is showing in practical ways how we can reshape public services around citizens and communities.  The benefits of this are enormous.  Making services directly accountable to the people they serve delivers better value for money and gives people back more control over their own lives.  This isn’t about cuts or austerity, it’s about supporting people to be more self-reliant so they can dream bigger dreams and realise their aspirations for themselves and their families.   At the same time we can strengthen the bonds and relationships within communities and make them more resilient to the many challenges we all face in a fast-changing world.

The Network is driven by the values of fairness, opportunity and solidarity that have always inspired progressive politics, and is showing how we can use those values today to do better for less.  Rather than a think tank this is a do-tank and these councils are demonstrating how we can unleash the creativity, innovation and leadership of our own communities to meet the challenge of our times.

Steve Reed MP

Member of Parliament for Croydon North
Honorary President of the CCIN