• Lead Member Oxford City Council
  • Participating Members Development.coop, Oxford City Council, Preston City Council, Stevenage Borough Council, Torbay Council
  • Year 2022
  • Status Policy Labs

Principles met

  • We will develop systems that enable citizens to be equal partners in designing and commissioning public services and in determining the use of public resources.
  • We will explore ways for councils to act as a platform for helping the community to contribute to local outcomes, and to re-think the role of councillors as community connectors, brokers and leaders.
  • We will promote community-based approaches to economic development that focus on supporting the creation of jobs, social enterprises and other businesses and providing an environment for co-operative and mutual enterprises to thrive.
  • We will embrace innovation in how we work with local communities to drive positive change.
  • We will support the development of a framework and criteria for social value, giving substance to the concept and supporting Councils with the tools to ensure better local social and economic outcomes.
  • In exploring new ways of meeting the priority needs of our communities we will encourage models, such as co-operatives and mutuals, which give greater influence and voice to staff and users. in designing and commissioning public services and in determining the use of public resources.

About the project

This is a national Policy Lab project in partnership with CCIN Associate Members from Stevenage Borough Council, Torbay Council, Preston City Council and affiliate member The Development Co-operative. The ‘Growing an Inclusive Cooperative Economy’ Policy Lab established a steering group, meeting regularly and co-operating to share best practice and case studies on how to support the growth of the cooperative economy.

The steering group led by Oxford City Council delivered a test and learn pilot on cooperative mapping, looking at creating a directory of cooperatives in the city’s areas of deprivation. To promote co-op growth, this directory can be shared with large anchor institutions’ procurement teams to prioritise when choosing suppliers to generate local, social value. After a directory was drafted, it was later developed as part of two wider initiatives – Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Partnership and Owned by Oxford – to become an initiative mapping community assets (see Oxford Case Study).

Torbay Council and Stevenage Borough Council were also both steering group members and delivered test and learn pilots in Torbay, focusing on care cooperative development, and in Stevenage, on social inclusion (see Torbay and Stevenage Case Studies in the report).

Preston City Council and The Development Co-operative were both steering group members fulfilling an advisory role to the steering group and helping to co-produce the test and learn pilots and collate learning and case studies.

Approaches included promoting community wealth-building and inclusive economy initiatives with a focus on embedding social value in procurement across anchor organisations; community mapping; financial support; advice and awareness-raising.