Portfolio: Community, Co-operatives and Inclusion
Cllr Allen Brett leads on the cross-cutting work with the co-operative, voluntary and community sectors, to ensure that Greater Manchester is one of the most co-operative, inclusive places in the world, and communities are at the heart of everything we do.
Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Accord
Greater Manchester is home to 16,000 voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations working to improve the lives of citizens. The VCSE sector is active across every aspect of growth and reform, including crime and disorder; sport, culture and leisure; skills, employment and enterprise; health and social care; housing and transport; environment and carbon reduction; poverty reduction; inclusive growth and governance.
On the 7th November 2017, the Mayor signed a formal Accord with the 16,000 voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in Greater Manchester.
The Accord sets out the framework for a new relationship between the Mayor of Greater Manchester, the Combined Authority and the VCSE sector. It includes building and sustaining the VCSE sector’s strategic capacity to deliver the shared vision as set out in the Greater Manchester Strategy, supporting the priorities that will help make Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and grow old.
Membership of the Co-operative Council’s Innovation Network
Greater Manchester is the home of the co-operative movement. The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers was established in 1844 and Greater Manchester remains the home of the Co-operative Group, the world’s largest consumer owned business.
In July 2018, the Combined Authority became a member of the Co-operatives Councils’ Innovation Network (CCIN). The CCIN is working to define a new model for local government, built on civic leadership. Member councils work in partnership with local people to shape and strengthen communities, with a view to replacing traditional models of top-down governance and service delivery with local leadership and genuine co-operation.
The building blocks of co-opetition in Greater Manchester are strong, with over 160,000 people in GM already members of a cooperative. Cooperatives collectively contribute £73 million to the local economy. The co-ops include credit unions providing financial services to communities, ten housing cooperatives, and retail, which is the largest sector and includes a number of organisations that are reporting significant increases in turnover.
Cooperatives are also starting to emerge in key growth areas such as digital and green technology. In July 2018, the Combined Authority agreed to set up a Co-operative Commission to ensure that the city-region stays at the forefront of co-operative development. The Commission will help Greater Manchester identify ways to:
- create sustainable and high quality jobs for local people
- improve educational attainment
- provide solutions to the challenges faced in the delivery of key services
- reduce inequality
As part of the Commission, research will be carried out on the role of co-operatives in Greater Manchester to gather evidence on how they are achieving the ambitions of the Greater Manchester Strategy before publishing a report detailing the findings and recommendations.