Local Authority as a Cooperative

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Milton Keynes Council

"Last month Marie-Claire Kidd reported that Milton Keynes Council has become the first local authority to declare itself co-operative.

It has agreed to adopt co-operative values and principles including social partnership, democratic engagement, co-production, enterprise and social economy and maximising social value.

Forwarding the motion, Cllr Sarah Betteley (Labour and Co-op Party), said, “We will strengthen the co-operative partnership between citizens, communities, enterprises and councils, based on a shared sense of responsibility for well-being and mutual benefit”. Councillors will act as community connectors, brokers and leaders.

The aim is to enable citizens to be equal partners in designing and commissioning services and determining the use of resources.

Cllr Betteley agreed to bring forward ideas on how to increase public engagement and participation in cabinet meetings and decision making. The council’s constitution commission will make suggestions on how to increase public participation in council business.

Deputy leader Cllr Hannah O’Neill (Labour and Co-op Party) said the move had been spearheaded by council leader Peter Marland (Labour and Co-op Party), but embraced by all parties.

“We’ve all really bought into it, including councillors in the other two parties,” she said. “The debate was a positive debate. This is a culture change. I haven’t come across any resistance to it yet.” (http://www.thenews.coop/90315/news/co-operatives/milton-keynes-council-enters-new-co-operative-era/)

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