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.
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.