Unlocking our wealth: a cooperative deal for community resilience, jobs and growth - RSA

Unlocking our wealth: a cooperative deal for community resilience, jobs and growth


  • Community and place-based action
  • Public services

This report, from the Cooperative Council Innovation Network’s Policy Commission on Community Resilience, Jobs and Growth, shows how a cooperative approach, based on firm partnership with business and individuals, could help more workless people into jobs, at lower cost, increase small business growth to create thousands of jobs, and significantly increase private sector investment in employment and skills.

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It pledges the commitment of Cooperative Councils to implement significant new deals with citizens and business to unlock the wealth of our communities, and it calls on government to give us the power to make it happen.

The evidence received by the Commission suggests that:

  • An impersonal, poorly designed system is systematically failing to recognise, and respond to, the needs of individuals. The Work Programme is not effectively supporting those that are hardest-to-help into sustainable employment.
  • Programmes related to skills, business support and local economic growth are far too centralised and fragmented, exacerbating skills shortages and constraining effective business and employer engagement 
  • Locally-led and cooperative approaches – which are co-designed, build on genuine partnership and unlock the assets of local places – can achieve significantly better economic and social outcomes. If the programmes we used for our economic analysis were applied nationwide, they could reduce the cost of employment support by 25 percent, create 90,000 jobs and increase the contribution of private sector developers to employment and skills by a factor of 15.

In addition to the main report, we have also produced an accompanying document which summarises the key evidence gathered and analysed through the course of the Commission.

About the Commission on Community Resilience, Jobs and Growth

The Cooperative Councils Innovation Network (CCIN) launched its policy commission on community resilience, jobs and enterprise in September 2014.

The Commission’s aim was to:

  • Gather examples of cooperative approaches to employment support, skills development and business growth
  • Review the impact and effectiveness of these approaches
  • Make recommendations to increase the effectiveness of state spending on employment and business support.

The Commission was chaired by Councillor Lib Peck and comprised a small group of policy advisers, service managers and elected members from CCIN councils. The RSA acted as Secretariat of the Commission and carried out the research underpinning the report.

The range of evidence that was collated and analysed by the Commission supports taking a locally-tailored, flexible and place-based approach to employment and growth.

About the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network

The Cooperative Councils Innovation Network is a collaboration between local authorities and registered as a Special Interest Group of the Local Government Association. Membership is open to any council which shares a commitment to our values. It is non-party political and provides a national voice for cooperative councils, informed by real experience and practice.


Picture of Abigail Melville
Abigail Melville
Secretary of CCIN Policy Commission on Community Resilience, Jobs and Growth

Picture of Atif Shafique
Associate Director, Public Services and Communities (Sabbatical)

Picture of Jonathan Schifferes
Associate Director, Public Services and Communities (Family leave)

Picture of Brhmie Balaram
Brhmie Balaram
Associate Director, Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing (family leave)

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