Cooperative Councils have caught our eye here in the Our Society Planning Group. Lambeth Council have a great area on their website explaining aspects of their cooperative approach. We were particularly interested in their 7 key principles:
The cooperative council sets out seven key principles that provide direction for public services. They are:
Principle 1: The council as a strong community leader.
Principle 2: Providing services at the appropriate level personalised and community based.
Principle 3: Citizens and communities empowered to design and deliver services and play an active role in their local community.
Principle 4: Public services enabling residents to engage in civil society through employment opportunities.
Principle 5: A settlement between public services, our communities and the citizen (this is what we provide, this is what you do for yourself) underpinned by our desire for justice, fairness and responsibility.
Principle 6: Taking responsibility for services – regardless of where they are accessed or which agency provides them.
Principle 7: Simple, joined up and easy access to services – location and transaction i.e. “one place to do it all”, “one form, one time to do it all” – providing visible value for money.
Dudley Council have set up a Localism Steering group which will take forward activity in relation to changes through the Localism Act in relation to Planning, Housing, Governance, Community Rights, and more. Our Society activity is also part of what the Localism Steering Group considers, and may help to shape the direction for public services and relationships between Dudley MBC and citizens and communities.
Dudley’s five first Community Organisers were trained and started working in Dudley in December. They are hosted by CfED (Centre for Equality and Diversity) and a pull-out from CfED’s December newsletter describes what Community Organisers are, what they will do, and includes contact details and information about Matt, Mel, Abraham, Terri and Keir – see: Dudley’s Community Organisers
I am lucky to work with lots of passionate volunteers and community groups, helping them to raise the profile of what they do. Lorna has invited me to join this space to share how their activity makes a massive and positive difference to our local communities.
Before Christmas, we invited another inspirational community spirit, Tessy Britton to meet some of our local groups, to help them to share ideas and think even more creatively than they already do!
Tessy is a social entrepreneur and the driving force behind the online phenomenon Hand Made which tells stories of national and international innovative community projects. The overwhelming success of this book which has attracted more than 60,000 internet downloads, has inspired Tessy to roll out local editions to towns and cities all over the world.
It inspired us too! So much that Lorna and I have volunteered to guest edit the Community lover’s guide to Dudley borough 🙂
Our guide will help local people find out more about innovative community projects and enterprises that are happening right on their doorsteps and will bring a worldwide audience to the projects involved. Local people will be invited to tell their personal stories in their own words about what they do, why they do it and how it is making a difference.
Part of our journey involved us meeting up with Steph Jennings who is currently working with Nick Booth to create a Community Lover’s Guide to Birmingham. Her enthusiasm for the project was infectious and now we can’t wait to get going!
We are in the process of calling for contributions and have already started working with our first two authors, Wendy Fryatt from Halesowen charity Black Country Foodbank and Sarah Freeman from Dudley based meals on wheels enterprise ‘The Gourmet’.
This project knits seamlessly into our wider work around the government’s Localism agenda which we have branded in Dudley as ‘Our Society’. Throughout this site you will find practical examples of how we are bringing people together to think about the changing relationship between the public sector, local communities and local people.
In the coming weeks and months I will enjoy sharing snippets from our Community lover’s guide to Dudley here so please do check back and see who’s involved. …And if you’re reading this and have got your own inspirational story to share, please do get in touch!