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 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

Executive Summary

This report summarises the process and outputs of a policy prototype project run on behalf of the CCIN by Economic Development officers at Oxford City Council in 2022. The exercise was delivered in collaboration with the Owned by Oxford Community Wealth building project, and included input from Community Action Groups Oxfordshire, Cooperative Futures, and academics at the University of East London and the University of Central Lancashire.

The report provides a prototype framework. It is intended as a proof of concept, and not a working policy tool but the intention is that this can pick picked up, adapted, and developed further with input from other interested parties.

The framework was built around five overarching strategic themes:

–  Equity and Equality

–  Participation and Accountability

–  Conviviality/Community

–  Self-help/empowerment

–  Wellbeing

It proposes a set of outcomes and measures which could contribute to these strategic aims.

The exercise uncovered useful learning points for councils working towards maximising these aims, including identifying a number of robust and verifiable measures which could better account for the benefits of cooperatives and community businesses – particularly around themes of equality and equity, and participation and accountability. E.g.

–  Increased number of people involved in economic decision making

–  Increased community participation

–  Wider distribution of profits and capital growth arising from economic activity

–  Increased investment in local area/community

It also encountered some of the limitations of the TOMs approach for supporting and realising economic change, including the problems of driving change through a set of disconnected indicators which can become ‘less than the sum of their parts’; their blindness to negative ‘externalities’; and the inherent challenges to accounting for subjectively experienced benefit through standardised assessments.

These limitations highlight the need for an integrated toolkit of social value which can help guide councils in the best tools to support specific strategic aims across a range of decision-making contexts, and this work will be carried forward through the CCIN Social Value Toolkit Policy Lab.

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