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The Cooperative Councils Innovation Network (CCIN) is a collaboration between local authorities who are committed to finding better ways of working for, and with, local people for the benefit of their local community. It is non-party political and provides a national voice for cooperative councils, informed by real experience and practice, with the aim of drawing on, influencing and framing national policy and political debates about the future of public services, local democracy, and communities across the country. Since 2013, the RSA has been a development partner for the CCIN, helping to manage the Network and develop its policy and influencing capacity.

The CCIN’s work recognises the need to define a new model for local government built on civic leadership, with councils working in equal partnership with local people to shape and strengthen communities. This means a new role for local authorities that replaces traditional models of top down governance and service delivery with local leadership, genuine co-operation, and a new approach built on the founding traditions of the co-operative movement: collective action, co-operation, empowerment and enterprise. 

The Network is currently undertaking a series of projects to explore and embed into practice new ways of delivering services and working in partnership with communities. Some of the recent work is outlined below.

Policy Commission on Community Resilience, Jobs and Enterprise

In September 2014 the CCIN launched a rapid policy commission to review current evidence of innovation and impact, and develop a more creative policy approach to increase the effectiveness of state spending on employment support through a locally tailored, flexible, place based approach to employment and growth. The Commission, Chaired by Leader of Lambeth Council Cllr Lib Peck, is focusing on how cooperative approaches can help local economies work better, tackle labour market exclusion and support economic growth.

We have held three evidence sessions (in Liverpool, Sandwell and Plymouth) and have analysed a range of evidence through our Call for Evidence, which we are using for the basis of an economic analysis to inform the Commission’s findings. A video of our evidence session in Liverpool can be found below:

The final report of the Commission is launching in February, 2015. To find out more, click here.

Promoting local government innovation

The CCIN is building a body of evidence to make the case for devolving public services and unlocking innovation in local government. It has worked with a range of stakeholders, including national policymakers such as the Cabinet Office, to explore new approaches to delivering services. This includes:

  • Ongoing collaboration with the Cabinet Office on public service mutuals

  • Strong engagement with and a contribution to the recent Local Government Innovation Taskforce. Our report to the Taskforce can be found here.

Developing a Cooperative Performance Management Framework

We are leading work to develop a Performance Management Framework for Cooperative Councils, which seeks to measure and embed innovative policy solutions to the core business and practices of local authorities. Some of the key themes include:

  • ‘How do we measure social value?’

  • ‘How do we go beyond conventional customer satisfaction to measure resident satisfaction, participation and level of engagement?’

  • ‘How do we measure community leadership?’

This work is being led by the CCIN Officers’ Network, a network of council officers across the CCIN that are sharing best practice and collaboratively developing cooperative policy solutions.

A vision for Cooperative Localism

What is distinctive about cooperative councils? What distinguishes cooperative localism from the Big Society and other programmes of public service reform? CCIN members are carrying out an analysis and critical reflection of their public service and leadership models to identify and clearly explain what makes a cooperative approach to local government radically new and ambitious. We have developed a draft vision which can be found here.

To find out more, visit