We are rapidly approaching the time of year when a call will be made for members to submit proposals for Policy Labs and Policy Prototypes. Each year the Network has made funding available to support members to use co-operative values and principles to explore and develop innovative approaches to issues facing local government today. Reports have already been published on moving from co-operative councils to co-operative places and on community-led housing. At our AGM Conference we will be soft launching a report on community asset transfer and over the coming 18 months this will be followed by reports on food justice; volunteering; increasing the size of the local co-operative economy; and community engagement.
In previous years both the Values and Principles Board and the Executive Oversight Committee have hoped to see proposals come forward for work to be developed in the field of health and social care – an area we know is of concern to all of our members and where we think that radical co-operative based solutions could be the way forward. But so far we have been disappointed.
This year we will be taking a slightly different approach, because we want to ensure that as a Network we begin to think creatively about co-operative solutions to the current health and social care crisis. So I thought I would give everyone a bit of a heads up to help you in thinking about what you might make proposals about.
This year we:
- Will only be accepting proposals for Policy Labs and Policy Prototypes about health and social care (for adults, for children or for both – for services delivered in-house or commissioned – Public Health, early intervention, prevention or delivery) so there is plenty of scope
- Anticipate that most of the proposals we accept will be for Policy Prototypes rather than full blown Policy Labs as we want to enable lots of ideas to come to the fore
- Expect the majority of the Policy Prototypes to have completed their work within 6 months (and all within 9); similarly we will be looking for any Policy Labs to submit interim findings within 6 months (and to have finalised their work within 12 months) of the work being awarded.
- Are particularly interested in workforce and union engagement and involvement in developing new ways of working
- Need projects to be written up, and other resource materials made available to us – but we are not expecting these to publication level as we will be pulling all of the learning together into a one major policy and resource publication.
So get your thinking caps on – what are the co-operative solutions in health and social care – for example:
- Social care and school transport
- Extra care housing
- Domiciliary care
- Beneficiary/user engagement
- Self-organising around personal budgets
- Community meals services
- Preventative healthcare
We know the list could go on – these are just ideas to get your thinking going, please don’t be constrained by them.
If you are working in an area with a successful co-operative solution already in place, or in development this could be a great way to explore in a narrow but deep way the journey travelled and lessons learnt.
As a network we are great at innovation and at putting our co-operative values and principles to work in bringing about change – I look forward to seeing a fantastic range of ideas coming forward.
By the way – don’t forget to use the Officers’ Network, contact lists and our online Members’ Forum to find people to work with and build ideas.
Councillor Chris Penberthy
Cabinet Member for Housing and Cooperative Development – Plymouth City Council
Chair, CCIN Values and Principles Board