A collaboration between local authorities

The Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network is a collaboration between local authorities who are committed to finding better ways of working for, and with, local people for the benefit of their local community.

  • Action-focused: a vehicle for helping councils translate co-operative policy and principles into practice existing documentation
  • Membership-based: funded by modest membership subscriptions from its member councils
  • Open to all UK councils: members share the belief that working co-operatively with communities holds the key to tackling today’s challenges
  • Part of the local government family: the network is a Special Interest Group registered with the Local Government Association where we work to promote innovation in local government

Co-operative Case Studies 2023 – our most recent collection of selected case studies from our members

Co-operative Case Studies 2023

Who are we?

The Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network is a non-party-political active hub for co-operative policy development, innovation and advocacy.

Defining a new model

The Network was established in 2012. It was the brainchild of Steve Reed OBE (now our Honorary President) who, together with Jim McMahon OBE and Sharon Taylor OBE (now our Chair) turned the idea into reality. Originally supported by the Cooperative Party, it became a Special Interest Group of the LGA in 2014, which has a number of advantages:

  • we’re a credible part of the local government family
  • we’re non-political
  • both officers and members can actively participate in our activities.

Our work recognises the need to define a new model for local government built on civic leadership, with councils working in equal partnership with local people to shape and strengthen communities. This means a new role for local authorities that replaces traditional models of top down governance and service delivery with local leadership, genuine co-operation, and a new approach built on the founding traditions of the co-operative movement: collective action, co-operation, empowerment and enterprise.

We provide a national voice for co-operative councils, informed by real experience and practice, with the aim of drawing on, influencing and framing national policy and political debates about the future of public services, local democracy, and communities across the country.

The network is open to all UK councils regardless of political affiliation who can demonstrate innovation and a willingness to drive forward the cooperative council agenda. We also welcome affiliate members from professional bodies, policy groups and other associations.

We work together to learn, share and develop innovative new approaches to turning co-operative principles into local practice that makes a tangible difference across our communities.

We are more than a policy exchange or think tank. We are an active network of councils delivering on the ground across many UK towns and cities.


Our Values & Principles

The Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network is a Special Interest Group of the Local Government Association.  Members of the Network are local authorities committed to reforming the way they work through building an equal partnership with local people, based on the values and principles of the International Co-operative Alliance.  As a Network, we strive to ensure that our member councils uphold and strengthen co-operative values and principles. Our membership approval and self-assessment process reflect this commitment.