16/11/2010

Public services in the community – what have co-ops got to do with it?

16th Nov 2010 Adrian Ashton www.adrianashton.co.uk Guest lecture to 1st year Public Services students, MMU

• What’s a co-op (and isn’t it the same as a mutual?) • Opps/threats in Big Society policy for coops

Adrian Ashton

1

16/11/2010

• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxu_zDis alY (ed mayo) • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0atBklES uU&feature=channel (ursulla lebetter) • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yswusM3 _mkw&feature=channel (unicorn)

Adrian Ashton

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

2

16/11/2010

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

A mutual
... shares many characteristics in common with co-ops, but exists only to benefit its members

Adrian Ashton

3

16/11/2010

Co-ops in the Big Society

Adrian Ashton

• Whatever happened to the Conservative Cooperative Movement?

Adrian Ashton

4

16/11/2010

Big Society
• Public sector reform • Community empowerment • Philanthropic action

Adrian Ashton

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

5

16/11/2010

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

...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

6

16/11/2010

Government agenda:
• “employee-led social enterprises, externalised from existing public sector bodies”

Adrian Ashton

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

7

16/11/2010

Want to know more?
• Twitter - #coops • Co-operativesUK www.uk.coop • ICA www.ica.coop

Adrian Ashton

8

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful