co-ops delivering public services in the Big Society


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guest lecture delivered to Public Services undergradutes at MMU on the opportunities and threats faced by co-operative enterprises in delivering public services in the Big Society agenda

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co-ops delivering public services in the Big Society

  1. 1. Public services in the community – what have co-ops got to do with it? 16th Nov 2010 Adrian Ashton Guest lecture to 1st year Public Services students, MMU
  2. 2. • What’s a co-op (and isn’t it the same as a mutual?) • Opps/threats in Big Society policy for coops Adrian Ashton
  3. 3. • v=Wxu_zDisalY (ed mayo) • v=x0atBklESuU&feature=channel (ursulla lebetter) • v=yswusM3_mkw&feature=channel (unicorn) Adrian Ashton
  4. 4. What’s a co-op? • In the UK, no overarching single legal definition... • An enterprise owned, controlled, and run in interests of its members (must be a principle stakeholder group) Adrian Ashton
  5. 5. Defined by values • Voluntary and open membership • Democratic member control • Member economic participation • Autonomy and independence • Education, training and information • Co-operation amongst co-operatives • Concern for community Adrian Ashton
  6. 6. A mutual ... shares many characteristics in common with co-ops, but exists only to benefit its members Adrian Ashton
  7. 7. Co-ops in the Big Society Adrian Ashton
  8. 8. • Whatever happened to the Conservative Co- operative Movement? Adrian Ashton
  9. 9. Big Society • Public sector reform • Community empowerment • Philanthropic action Adrian Ashton
  10. 10. Why the interest in co-ops? • One of most sustainable models for business • Able to reach and engage those people that the state can’t... • Pioneered consumer/worker rights: – Food labelling – Animal testing – Fair trade – Environmental impact – Workers rights Adrian Ashton
  11. 11. UK co-op movement • £29bn turnover (£550m each week) • 1 in 5 people are a member of a co-op • Employs more than 200,000 people Adrian Ashton
  12. 12. ...and globally: • 100 million jobs (more than all multinationals combined) • Protects against fascism (Italy) • Offers financial services to the White House • Assure living wages and workers rights (fair Trade) Adrian Ashton
  13. 13. Government agenda: • “employee-led social enterprises, externalised from existing public sector bodies” Adrian Ashton
  14. 14. Perspective of the sector • Co-op model would seem to offer ideal fit to policy agenda – ‘hunger’ from people: community buy-outs, community share issues, Co-op schools, ... • But need for support – no funding from state, sector needs to better support itself Adrian Ashton
  15. 15. Want to know more? • Twitter - #coops • Co-operativesUK • ICA Adrian Ashton