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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Working Co-Operatively to Deliver Better Services

Friday, 04 October 2019

We stand at the cusp of a truly historic moment for Tameside’s communities. This week, at their annual conference in Rochdale the Co-Operative Councils Innovation Network ratified Tameside Council’s application to become a Co-Operative Council. From this moment onwards, Tameside is part of a growing and influential network of local authorities committed to developing a new relationship with our citizens. A network that embodies the values and principles of the weavers and workers of Rochdale 150 years ago, and which has now grown into a global organisation of 313 co-operative federations in 109 countries.

Tameside Council is now formally committed to the values and principle of the Co-Operative Councils Innovation Network. As I stated in my blog when we began this journey these include, but are not limited to; championing fairness and equality, making decisions in a transparent way, taking responsibility for our actions and encouraging others to do so as well, working together and supporting each other in achieving a common goal, holding ourselves accountable to our stakeholders, recognising and welcoming different views, and believing in and acting within the principles of democracy and public engagement. As councils up and down the country continue to grapple with nearly a decade of shrinking budgets and rising demand for services, we believe that adherence to these co-operative values and principles can transform the way public services are delivered, allowing us to better support our local communities and put our residents in the driving seat.

In recognition of this important milestone on 3rd October we held a Tameside Co-Operative Council Summit in Dukinfield Town Hall. The first of what will hopefully be many events of its kind, the Summit brought together representatives from local public sector, voluntary and community organisations to share their ideas and insights on how to further develop co-operative working with elected members and council officers. Over 100 representatives attended our half-day event which included presentations from myself; the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Andrew Gwynne MP, and Nicola Huckerby and Cllr Martin Judd, who were in attendance as representatives of the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network itself. The summit involved group work, discussions and a “market-stall” style showcase of existing co-operative projects in Tameside. Attendees, which included representatives from Tameside Youth Council, provided important feedback on how we can continue to work better together across the borough.


Some of the co-operative projects which held a stall at the summit included Tameside Armed Services Community, The Grafton Centre, The Together Centre, Tameside Youth Council, Cashbox Credit Union, Home Start, the Partnership Engagement Network, Community Response and the Mental Wellbeing Collaborative. Although the precise model varies by service, it is believed that co-operative approaches can be applied to almost every aspect of local government, including community regeneration, economic development, youth services, housing, leisure, social services and education.

The Summit has been a really fantastic opportunity to showcase how cooperative working is already improving people’s lives in Tameside as well as share and explore ideas for where else we can embrace this model of collaborative working to have a positive impact and ensure residents remain central in our thoughts. There has already been lots of inspiring discussions and feedback from our partners and the local community and we will continue to welcome suggestions and comments. I’m excited to see where – working together - we can take this next. In addition to the Summit, engagement with residents continues to take place, or is scheduled to take place, at community groups, schools and colleges. People can also provide their views on the principles of co-operative councils and suggestions for further ways of co-operative working via the feedback survey:

We have taken the first step in a journey that may very well end up defining Tameside for years, or even decades to come. My thanks go out to everybody whose hard work has made this possible. I believe that we still have much to learn, but I also think that there is much we can teach others as well. Let’s take the next steps together.

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