... very well attended event - with a good mixture of praise for progress made, mixed with constructive criticism of how we could 'do more/do things better'.
Will all now inform an Update Report to the November 2013 Full Council Meeting.
For those interested - the relevant News Release is reproduced below; and far below - my (short) speech notes:
Status For Immediate Release
COOPERATION KEY TO CAPITAL COMMITMENT
Edinburgh is on track to becoming a ‘Cooperative Capital’, according to a leading co-operative consultant.
Speaking at a seminar in the City Chambers today, Martin Meteyard, of the Co-operative Enterprise Hub, praised the commitment shown by the Council in taking forward plans outlined 12 months ago in its Framework to Advance a Cooperative Capital 2012/17.
The council aims to encourage communities, partners and those using its services to become more involved in how these are planned, managed and delivered, with a particular focus on developing more co-operatives to deliver energy, housing, social care and child care services.
Mr Meteyard said: “Co-operatives are a tried and tested business model going back 250 years. We now have a billion members worldwide, providing over 100 million jobs.
“Edinburgh has led the way in Scottish local authority terms and the level of commitment shown continues to be very encouraging.
“Maintaining this commitment in terms of resources is going to be challenging, particularly in the context of continued cuts to the council’s budget, and so building stronger relations with ‘anchor institutions’, such as universities and hospitals, will be key.”
Council Leader, Cllr Andrew Burns, and Chief Executive, Sue Bruce, also spoke at the event, which was attended by 80 councillors, officials and stakeholders.
Cllr Burns said: “We realised when we took office that we had to have a fresh think about how we do business as a local authority so that we could put the public back at the centre of decision-making.
“This has already resulted in some very positive actions, including the creation of the first Petitions Committee, direct parent representation on our Children & Families committee and the complete revision of the budgetary process to allow meaningful public input and debate before any final decisions are made.
“Only last week, I was delighted to receive cross-party support for our proposal to join the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network – the first local authority in Scotland to do so. I have no doubt that, by calling on the knowledge and expertise of others across the UK, we can continue the good work we have started.”
Sue Bruce said: “We were presented with a clear mandate 12 months ago and immediately set about establishing a dedicated Cooperative Development Unit within the Council.
“Since then, good progress has been made in each of the four target areas and also in council service design and procurement. In particular, a lot of time has been spent engaging with external agencies and communities to enable them to deliver the concept themselves, ensuring that their local knowledge, preferences and practical experience shapes the services in their area.”
The seminar, which also included a number of workshops, will inform an update report to be considered by councillors next month.
We have established an SLA with LAYC (Lothian Association of Youth Clubs) to support the Out of School Care sector, to identify and help those who wish to adopt a co-operative approach. One club is in the process of applying to the Co-operative Enterprise Hub for support, and a ‘Co-operative Charter’ is also being developed for clubs wishing to follow this route.
Social Care Co-operative
As part of our Market Shaping Strategy we are supporting the development of personalised services and self directed support to launch an Innovation Fund (£300K in 2013/14 and £100k in 2014/15). We are specifically inviting applications to the Fund, launched on 1 October 2013, for a contribution of up to £50,000 towards the costs of establishing an employee owned health and social care co-operative.
Edinburgh Community Energy Co-op is working with CEC on a solar photo voltaic project and is currently identifying suitable locations. The aim is to make money from feed-in tariff for reinvestment to provide other community benefits.
Proposals to support new build co-operative housing in East Edinburgh are progressing well. Co-operative approaches to the development of social rented housing are limited by investment priorities and the available subsidy, but there may be more potential for mid market rent and low cost home ownership
Co-operative Service Design
Participatory budgeting successes such as ‘Leith Decides’ generate considerable community participation. The ongoing ‘Canny wi’ Cash’ initiative is believed to be a UK first with its focus on a community of interest rather than place. Throughout October, Edinburgh’s older generation will determine how £35,000 of small grants for enhancing older people’s services will be allocated.
Many examples of strong engagement with partners and service users:
o Market Shaping Strategy for adult social care services
o Commissioning Approaches for children and families services
o Homelessness Prevention Services review
o Community and Accessible Transport Review
Cooperative Capital – one year on
Good afternoon colleagues and many thanks for taking some time out of what I know are very busy schedules to be here this afternoon.
My name is Andrew Burns, the Leader here at the City of Edinburgh Council, and my job today is ‘relatively’ straightforward … as I’ll principally be chairing the proceedings.
I will say a few words by way of introduction and to set the background …
· and we’ll then hear from Sue Bruce, the Council’s Chief Executive on progress in delivering on the Cooperative Capital agenda
· followed by Martin Meteyard who will give an external perspective on progress and the many challenges we still face
· both Sue and Martin will have time to take questions after their contributions; before we have a short break
· to be followed by some workshops which will look at how we overcome current challenges and thus ensure further delivery on the Cooperative Capital agenda
· we’ll then get some brief feedback from the workshops
· and I’ll finally sum-up and outline next steps
· and we’ll be done by 4pm latest!
So – firstly – by way of background …
1. May 2012 election – still relatively recent
2. Capital Coalition ... Lab/SNP: Dumfries & Galloway!
3. Clear that we wanted new ways of working
4. Contract with the Capital
5. 6 themes – 53 commitments
6. May each year – main progress report
7. November each year – interim update
8. This October 2012:
A ‘Framework to Advance a Cooperative Capital 2012/17’
9. Last week, joined Cooperative Council Innovation Network
“Last week, I was delighted to receive cross-party support for our proposal to join the Cooperative Innovation Network – the first local authority in Scotland to do so. I have no doubt that, by calling on the knowledge and expertise of others across the UK, we can continue the good work we have started.”
10. Now: ‘one year on’ event – October 2013
11. November 2013 Full Council update
12. And report also on the 53 coalition commitments
Sue will shortly update us on progress with the specifics of the Cooperative Capital Agenda … what it is we are actually now doing within our Co-operative Capital Approach – our content.
… I want to briefly focus on the other, crucial strand – for me - of any attempt at being a Cooperative Council … and that is that all of this absolutely has to be part of a wider, new approach ...
... an attempt to ‘do politics differently’ --- as I believe the two (CONTENT + CULTURE) are inextricably inter-twined.
Different planet etc …
... to counter breakdown in trust ...
… there simply has to be an on-going, two-way dialogue, with residents, about their role in what their Council does for the remaining 4-years.
“We realised when we took office that we had to have a fresh think about how we do business as a local authority so that we could put the public back at the centre of decision-making.
And for me, that new approach to the way we work, and the way we engage with others, has included some definite actions in making the vision of a cooperative council a reality:
1. We have completely overhauled our scrutiny and audit function; and established a new Governance, Risk and Best Value Committee; Chaired by a Member of Edinburgh’s main Opposition Conservative Group ...
... indeed, just this morning ...
2. We have established the first Petitions Committee, and petitions process, in Edinburgh. That Committee is Chaired by a Member of Edinburgh’s Opposition Green Group. This has all helped enable local residents to have an additional channel to raise issues of concern, with their elected representatives, and directly with the Council.
3. We have also completely revised our budgetary process, which has led to the publication of a draft budget – for the first time in decades, in Edinburgh. We published that draft budget in November last year, and for this upcoming 2014/15 Budget we’ve just published our draft figures at the end of September; now allowing a full 3-months of public consultation prior to this Christmas, and the eventual setting of the final budget in February next year.
4. We’ve also created a renewed focus on neighbourhoods and communities within our decision-making structures, and ‘worked-up’ proposals for the next stage in the development of our Neighbourhood Partnerships (Neighbourhood Committees) will be put before the Full Council for debate and decision within the next few months.
5. We’ve also ensured direct, parental representation within our Education’ decision-making processes, by placing a Parental Rep. on our main Education Committee, with the same voting-rights as any other Member on that Committee.
6. And last – but by no means least – we’re webcasting (both live and archived) all of our Full Council Meetings, and an increasing number of our regular Committee Meetings.
The cumulative impact of all these considered-changes has been fairly significant … and I would contest we have re-gained some degree of trust and a renewed sense of engagement with residents;
… but, there is undoubtedly a long, long way to go – and continuing to deliver on both the Co-operative Content and on ‘doing politics differently’ are crucial not just for this year, but for every remaining year of this current Council-term …
… we know that keeping up this level of commitment will be challenging for both Elected Members AND Officers;
But --- we do need a new culture of ‘letting-go’ and, wherever feasible, of putting residents and service-users at the heart of service design and service delivery --- and that’s what we’re working – slowly but steadily – towards.