We need to fully harness the power of co-operatives and social enterprises working in our communities…..

Jonathan Bland - SBI-E3MLast October I attended the CCIN annual conference and came away energised by the inspirational presentations and discussions. There was a real collective spirit among network members, focussed on achieving positive change in what are very difficult times.  It inspired me to get more involved and to stand for the affiliate position on the Executive Oversight Committee.  
 
Throughout my career in the UK, in Spain and in Finland, I have seen how co-operatives and social enterprises can be very effective tools for promoting economic empowerment and social change.  I believe passionately that they can provide a real alternative to the model we have now and offer practical ways of re-engaging people and communities who have been socially and economically excluded from our highly centralised national political and economic system.  
 
There are some great examples of where co-operative councils are putting power back in the hands of the people, promoting new models for local services and growing the local economy. The question is: how can we scale this up?  
I believe the answer requires local public authorities to fully harness the power of co-operative and social enterprises working in their communities, based on long-term partnerships, which are relational rather than transactional.   It means embracing ways of working, and an approach to commissioning and local economic development that facilitate can this. Above all, it has to be about sharing knowledge about what works in this field and applying this learning to create real social change.  CCIN is well placed to do this and I think it has a very important role to play as we look to the future.
 
I am really looking forward to working more closely with colleagues in the network and to bringing the experience, ideas and connections of E3M, the Public Service Transformation Academy and the other affiliate members to support CCIN’s programme over the next two years.

 

Jonathan Bland
Managing Director – Social Business International/E3M, PSTA

Affiliate Member of the CCIN

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