Statement of Values and Principles


The Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network is a Local Government Association Special Interest Group.  Members of the Network are local authorities committed to reforming the way we 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 reflects this commitment.

Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network members believe that the unprecedented challenges facing the public sector and local communities mean that traditional models of top down governance and economic growth are no longer fit for purpose.

We agree that we urgently need to create a new approach, and that the founding traditions of the co-operative movement – collective action and co-operation, empowerment and enterprise – offer a foundation for fresh and innovative solutions which can be built on to tackle the challenges of today.

Although drawing on the traditions of the past, much of this remains unchartered territory for local government.  Members of the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network are committed to helping each other translate co-operative principles into solutions that work for our communities and places.

Our Values are what we believe in

Whilst not a registered co-operative, the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network has adopted the Co-operative Values developed by the International Co-operative Alliance:

Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.  In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Our Principles guide the way we and our members put our values into action.

The Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network endorses the principles of the International Co-operative Alliance:

  • voluntary and open membership;
  • democratic member control;
  • member economic participation;
  • autonomy and independence;
  • education, training and information;
  • co-operation among co-operatives; and
  • concern for community.

In acknowledging that Councils are not in themselves registered co-operatives, we and our members have developed Principles that have grown from those of the International Co-operative Alliance and are relevant within the context of local government.

  1. Social partnership: We will strengthen the co-operative partnership between citizens, communities, enterprises and Councils, based on a shared sense of responsibility for wellbeing and mutual benefit
  1. Democratic engagement: We will support the active engagement of the full range of residents in decision making and priority setting
  1. Co-production: We will develop systems that enable citizens to be equal partners in designing and commissioning public services and in determining the use of public resources
  1. Enterprise and social economy: We will promote community-based approaches to economic development that focus on supporting the creation of jobs, social enterprises and other businesses and providing an environment for co-operative and mutual enterprises to thrive
  1. Maximising social value: We will support the development of a framework and criteria for social value, giving substance to the concept and supporting Councils with the tools to ensure better local social and economic outcomes
  1. Community leadership and a new role for councillors: We will explore ways for councils to act as a platform for helping the community to contribute to local outcomes, and to re-think the role of councillors as community connectors, brokers and leaders
  1. New models of meeting priority needs: In exploring new ways of meeting the priority needs of our communities we will encourage models, such as co-operatives and mutuals, which give greater influence and voice to staff and users
  1. Innovation: We will embrace innovation in how we work with local communities to drive positive change
  1. Learning: We will capture and ‘expand’ the experience and learning from individual projects and approaches in order to encourage broader application of co-operative principles within individual member Councils and across the Network
  1. Walking the talk: As a membership organisation we will make this statement of our principles operational by:
  • Co-operation among members: Our members work together to help each other implement our values, sharing experiences and learning
  • Openness of membership: Full, Associate and Affiliate Membership is open to any qualifying Council, organisation or individual who shares our values and is committed to putting them into action
  • Co-production of the Network’s work: Members help shape the Network’s work programme and the content of events and written products
  • Action-focused: The network is a vehicle for helping councils translate co-operative values and principles into policy and practice
  • Membership-based: The network is majority funded by modest membership subscriptions from its member Councils, Associates and Affiliates
  • Non-party-political: Members share the belief that working co-operatively within and across communities holds the key to tackling today’s challenges