In 2022 the EOC has allocated £60,000 to fund Policy Labs and £15,000 for Policy Prototypes.  Members can lead on a maximum of one project per organisation, this helps ensure that more councils can get involved.

All funded projects must demonstrate the ‘co-operative difference’ and explicitly show this using our Statement of Values and Principles.

Policy Labs Process 2022

Policy Labs are allocated between £10k – £20k, dependent on their scale and ambition. This funding supports research, collaboration and implementation of co-operative initiatives that involve multiple Network members.

This work is incredibly valuable for our members, allowing us to share best practice on a national footprint, collaborate with like-minded local authorities and partners, and work together to solve some of the complex problems facing local government and the communities we represent.

Policy Lab ideas for 2022

The CCIN Officer Network has developed several potential thematic areas that could be considered for Policy Labs and Prototypes in 2022, including:

  1. Covid-19 Recovery – Though Covid-19 Recovery was a thematic area in 2021, this is still a topic that all local authorities are wrestling with. We would like to fund projects that involve local communities in co-designing co-operative initiatives that would help our members and their communities to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
  2. Sharing Data with 3rd Sector Organisations – Following the pandemic, many local authorities are thinking about how they can better support their local VCSFE sector, including through the development of investment strategies. However, key to this approach is how we work with the VCFSE sector, for example, through sharing data and intelligence about local communities. We would like to fund projects that aim to promote greater collaboration between local authorities and the VCFSE sector, with models of co-operation that can be replicated across the Network.
  3. Tackling Inequality – Many CCIN councils represent areas and communities suffering with high levels of inequality and deprivation (9 of the top 30 councils listed in the Multiple Indices of Deprivation are CCIN members). We would like to fund projects that aim to develop partnership projects to tackle poverty and inequality, helping our members to build back fairer from the pandemic.
  4. Engaging Communities in Local Democracy – As Co-operative Councils’, we are committed to finding new ways of engaging our communities in the democratic process. We would like to fund projects that help develop inclusive models of engagement, especially focusing on groups who are traditionally disengaged from local democracy.
    Rochdale MBC wants to build on a previous Policy Prototype where Rochdale council and our local VCSE infrastructure organisation, Action Together, developed a Co-operative Engagement Toolkit (Co-operative Engagement – Toolkit Tests – Co-operative Councils Innovation Network). This was designed to test out how we could move beyond traditional engagement methods, focusing on consultation, to one underpinned by co-production principles and provide an evidence base for this approach to be embedded within the health and social care arenas.  Now we have this framework, we want to take this a step further and understand what happens when we rigorously apply the principles to a service delivery model – and we’ve chosen a part of our system which is co-producing the way services are delivered for adults who are experiencing Multiple Disadvantages (simultaneously experiencing several disadvantages at once such as homelessness,, mental health issues, substance misuse, crime, abuse, poverty, trauma, poor health or disability).  As part of the Changing Futures programme in Greater Manchester, we are working through the redesign of several parts of the system which impact on the experience of people facing these multiple disadvantages.  We are using a variety of methods to coproduce solutions, led by people with lived experience of multiple disadvantages along with the people who love and care about them, with workers, volunteers, managers, leaders, commissioners and decision-makers.
  5. Co-operative Approaches to Levelling-up – The levelling-up agenda is gaining momentum across the country, with many local authorities considering how they can access funding to support their town centres, create jobs, and grow their local economies. We would like to fund projects that take a cooperative approach to levelling up, considering how we can encourage good economic growth, that benefits everyone in our communities.
  6. Building community power by opening up access to the cooperative economy –Levelling up, covid recovery, building democracy and tackling inequality are all essential at this time. This theme is seeking to knit together these objectives and convene those members that would like to explore how to better support community practitioners (community anchors, community organisers, local area network coordinators etc) as a way of tackling these issues. We need to find effective ways of reaching into communities and giving them access to support and skills and building their confidence to lead on cooperative development. This might involve ensuring that the social enterprise coaches in your city are full versed in cooperative governance or offering appropriate training through local networks to reach those working closely with communities so they understand the business models that could support cooperative and democratic businesses to emerge from local needs, or it could be working across Councils to share models for building coops in certain sectors as part of inclusive growth and community wealth building agendas. Power to Change is interested in understanding the challenges and blocks and the possible approaches and solutions that could help local authorities support increased grassroots development of cooperative, community and other alternative ownership models.
  7. CCIN Study visit to Mondragon – organised by CCIN – MONDRAGON is the outcome of a cooperative business project launched in 1956. Its website describes itself as “a dedicated group of people with a cooperative identity forming a business group that is profitable, competitive and enterprising, capable of successfully operating in global markets. The Mondragon organisation uses democratic methods in its corporate organisation, and its aims are employment, the personal and professional advancement of its workers, and the development of its community.”
    The Region comprises 95 coops | 80k people | 14 R&D Centres | 1st place in Basque business banking. In November 2021, the University of Central Lancashire and Preston City Council organised a symposium to delve deeper into the phenomenon that is Mondragon. The influence of Mondragon on the Preston Model and the partnership between the University and Preston City Council has prospered since their first visit in 2013.
    The CCIN Leaders/Co-operative Leads Group is recommending a visit to Mondragon so that members could see for themselves what a fully immersed co-operative region looks like. More here:
  8. Arts & Culture – for social cohesion – Culture and arts can be strong drivers of development, social cohesion and, ultimately, change.At the heart of social cohesion is social inclusion.Communities with low social cohesion tend to have low involvement or access to civic engagement, economic opportunity, and social participation. Supporting the role of culture is a vital aspect of building social cohesion. Culture is essential for avoiding conflicts and for conflict resolution. It is an ideal means of communicating across language barriers, empowering people and facilitating social cohesion, including among refugees, migrants and host populations. It prevents the marginalisation of people based on their cultural identity, socio-economic status, age and other factors.[1]The Community Engagement Panel regarding Arts & Culture was about how increasing the Arts & Culture offer in town centres encouraged people to use the town centre with a knock-on effect of increased footfall to retail, hospitality businesses and dwell time in town centres.Such as having an art gallery in Town Centre, theatre offer and festivals and events.[1] Cohesion and well being | Culture and Creativity (
  9. Reviewing the impact of differing approaches to delivering the Household Support Fund – The proposal is to review the different approaches that various councils have taken to using/disseminating the Household Support Fund in their area.  The project will collate information on the different approaches taken and set out local perceptions of the strengths and challenges of each approach.  It will also develop and agree some set criteria for evaluating the impact of the household support fund on a local area and could produce a toolkit that would support authorities in undertaking such an evaluation.  Dependent on the number of participating authorities some overall conclusions could also be drawn on the benefits of specific approaches.
  10. Explore the potential and effectiveness of differing approaches to embedding lived experience in policymaking – The proposal is to consider and develop different approaches to using lived experience to direct policymaking.  Following two Poverty Truth Commissions, Cheshire West and Chester have declared a poverty emergency and established a Poverty Truth Advisory Board made up of community inspirers (people with a lived experience of poverty) to influence and affect policymaking.  The Council are also currently running a commission into the future of Adult Social Care which has highlighted the importance of coproduction.  The intention is to explore potential ways of taking this forward.

Timetable for Policy Labs

16 Feb – Launch at Annual Conference
1 April – Submission of Project ideas for Policy Labs 
2 May – Project Leads confirm their partners for Policy Labs
Midnight 13 June (extended date) – Closing date for submission of Expressions of interest (EOI) for Policy Labs
22 June – Executive Oversight Committee consider all EOIs (Bids).  And ask any follow-up questions of project leads.
w/b 4 July – Successful applicants will be notified and contracts awarded.

Members will have twelve months to deliver their projects, but there is an opportunity to extend this for more complicated initiatives.

If you have an idea, please complete the expression of interest form below.  We want to hear ideas from ALL our members.  Policy Labs are designed for cross Member participation and we recommend engaging a minimum of three other CCIN members to create a working group to support the development of your project.

We welcome applications from all Members, but the application must be submitted, and delivery overseen by a Full Member Council.

Policy Prototypes Process and Timetable 2022

To access our Policy Prototype Funding this year, you can either choose one of the themes identified for the Policy Labs or something else.  These smaller projects are those that members may want to deliver in their locality on behalf of the Network.

All applications will be considered for funding of up to £2,000.

Midnight 13 June (extended date) – Closing date for submission of Expressions of interest (EOI) for Policy Prototypes 
22 June – Executive Oversight Committee consider all EOIs (Bids).  And ask any follow-up questions of project leads.
w/b 4 July – Successful applicants will be notified and contracts awarded.

We’d expect the majority of Policy Prototypes to have completed their work within 9 months. 

Projects should be written up, and other resource materials made available to the CCIN and its members.

We welcome applications from all Members, but the application must be submitted by an elected body.