Becoming a brilliant co-operative council – Plymouth City Council

Posted on 8th July, 2014

Today we are facing an unprecedented time of challenge; brought about through funding settlements, the economic environment, demographic demands, increasing complexity of need and changing public expectations. There has never been a greater threat to local government services and at the same time there has never been a greater opportunity to change.

Plymouth City Council and our partners are undergoing a step change in the way that public services are planned and delivered. We will deliver services in a creative and innovative way, engaging citizens and customers in shaping services and their communities.

In 2013, we published our Corporate Plan, communicated on one page, outlining our vision to become a ‘Brilliant Cooperative Council’ and our plans to address these challenges co-operatively.


Our four values will guide how staff and members work together as One Team Serving Our City. We know that we cannot succeed without engaging citizens, customers, staff and partners.

If we are to live our values and achieve our goal to be a Brilliant Cooperative Council we must engage with staff, members, partners and communities around change in the right way using our Co-operative values to create our engagement strategies and guidance, enabling us to engage at the right time, with the right communities and partners, on the issues they perceive as important.


The co-operative way

Over the last 12 months we have developed a number of tools that we will use to work co-operatively.

Examples include:

  • City wide intelligence
  • Co-operative commissioning
  • Framework for working with our Citizens and Communities
  • Fairness Commission

To look at these methods in greater detail view our Co-operative case studies below.

Plymouth – a co-operative city

Plymouth has a long history of co-operative working.

  • We were one of the first cities in the UK to form a Co-operative Society.
  • Co-operative Housing in Thornbury, North Plymouth, 10 couples got together to build 10 detached houses between June 1975 and March 1977. The land was purchased from Plymouth City Council, and the group had a mixture of skills which they donated for free. As each house was completed the occupants remained as tenants until all 10 were completed.
  • The Wolseley Community Economic Development Trust, which began in 1997, has encouraged local businesses to develop and to prosper in order benefit the local community. Some of its key successes have been to deliver over 260 jobs and bring derelict sites back into use.
  • The Millfields Community Economic Development Trust set up in 2000 to allow people to contribute to Stonehouse neighbourhood regeneration, it is currently commencing the development of it’s fifth commercial premises at a cost of £4.2 million.

Co-operative projects on the ground

There are a range of projects happening in the City which show how we’re already working differently.