Keep it Local Network – Locality working with Co-op Councils

Posted on 20th May, 2019

Harnessing the power of community to build strong local partnerships

A growing movement

A movement is gathering pace. Up and down the country councils and communities are coming together to transform their places.

More and more local authorities are moving away from bureaucratic commissioning and big outsourcing contracts. Instead they are unlocking the power of community: building strong local partnerships, sharing power and maximising local strengths.

We’ve travelled up and down the country and met with council officials, local government leaders and community actors on what ‘Keep it Local’ means in their place. Through this process, we co-designed a visual representation of what the approach entails.

Keep it Local image

A ‘whole system’ Keep it Local approach

At a time of rising demand for services with local government continuing to shoulder the heaviest burden of austerity, councils are forging a different path – one which harnesses the power lying latent in their communities. There are three big reasons to Keep it Local:

  • For better services that transform lives: community organisations provide a holistic person-centred approach.
  • To reduce pressure on the public sector: this holistic approach can reduce pressure on the public sector, through its preventative and early intervention function.
  • To invest and reinvest in the local economy: working with local community organisations creates local economic multipliers.

Cooperative Councils Keeping it Local

Bristol Council is of the two ‘Keep it Local’ pilot areas where we are working in partnership to shift council practice. We’ve worked with them to map the existing assets in their community and are together identifying opportunities for changes in commissioning practice which embed the Keep it Local approach.

Newcastle Council has been on a journey to develop, embed, and begin to see the impact of its social value approach. Through the Keep it Local Network, we co-hosted an event with Newcastle Council, and heard all about this.

One of the key features of their approach is the integration of their procurement and commissioning teams. Previous research by Locality found that these two functions are often disconnected and seen as two different disciplines, and one of the main barriers to councils keeping it local.

As councils respond to the multiple challenges they face, more and more are choosing to keep it local. It’s a practical way of putting cooperative values into action and sharing power between communities and the council, ultimately transforming the lives of the people they serve.

Locality – Keep it Local Network