November 6, 2013
Glasgow aims to cooperate
They say that necessity is the mother of invention and local authorities have never been under more pressure to deliver better services for much less money than they had before. There’s an increasingly urgent need to rethink how services are delivered. This may explain why Glasgow City Council appear to be considering a particular direction of travel which previous generations of City fathers might struggle to recognise. If they can pull it off, others are sure to follow.
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Extract of report to Executive Committee, Glasgow City Council
The Council wishes to build on our current service delivery to develop a new partnership between local people and public services called Co-operative Glasgow where:
• public services are of the best quality, offer value for money, are designed around people’s lives and are ‘joined up’ so that citizens get what they need at the right time and the right place;
• power and responsibility is more balanced by agreeing what we will provide and what communities will control for themselves;
• the Council involves the community and employees in planning services and supporting employees, local people and organisations to organise and run services differently;
• the Council enables people to do more to help their own communities and at the same time to help themselves by gaining new skills and experience.
These are ambitious aims and in order to fully understand their implications and plan a practical course of action, it is necessary to initiate discussions between Elected Members, Chief Officers and relevant external partners including Co-operative Development Scotland, Co-op UK, Public Sector Mutuals, Social Enterprise Scotland an other Local Authorities. This will inform the identification of the processes and steps necessary to achieve the required outcomes.
The starting point for this process is the establishment of a Glasgow Co-operative Council model that sets out the key principles required for the Council to work in a co-operative manner. It is recommended that a scoping event involving the partners identified in paragraph 1.3 is held to facilitate discussion around the model and its practical application.
The establishment of a Co-operative Council is an incremental process. It is anticipated that some potential elements e.g. transferring service delivery to a formally constituted co-operative, would take longer than other aspects.
Becoming a Co-operative City also contributes towards the vision of ‘A prosperous city for all Glaswegians’. While the specific commitments to developing Co-operative Glasgow sits within the Economic Growth priority area of the Strategic Plan 2012-17, the benefits impact upon other priority areas and will have wide ranging implications for how the Council works, interacts with its customers and delivers its services.
The adoption of the principles underpinning Co-operative Glasgow are aligned to, and complement, the policy approved on 13 December 2012 on transfer of control of assets to the community and aspects of the Scottish Government’s proposed Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill concerning community service delivery.
A Co-operative Development Unit (CDU) has been established within Development and Regeneration Services to support the development of Co-operatives and other social enterprises in the city. As a starting point, the CDU will undertake an audit of activity across the council to provide a base from which to progress. This will ensure consistency of approach and an understanding of the cross cutting application of Co-operative Glasgow.