Launch a Co-operative Development Agency
A network of support and capacity building to develop and extend the capabilities of the co-operative movement.
A Co-operative Development Agency would strengthen the growth of the sector, helping co-operatives – both individually and as a network – to develop by providing a thick ecosystem of institutions and cultures that give information, advice, expertise and support.
A Co-operative Development Agency would have responsibility for:
Facilitating knowledge exchange among co-operatives
This would give co-operatives the space to share best practice, costs and risks through co-operative clusters, federations, peer support and mentoring programmes.
Supporting co-operative business development
The agency could work with the sector to promote economic co-operation between co-ops by connecting co-operative supply chains and encouraging inter co-operative trading.
Funding the development of a core co-op API
The core co-op API could provide the building blocks of a common digital infrastructure, enabling co-operatives to operate at scale. Benefits of digital connectivity could include:
- More meaningful membership participation in governance
- Greater collaboration within and between co-operatives
- Better relationships with co-operative customers and members
Replicating, sheltering and expanding successful co-op models
This would provide the required support to enable the replication and proliferation of successful co-operative models. The Agency would help shelter new co-operatives by providing support with core infrastructural requirements, reducing costs in the process.
Providing technical support to assist in worker buy-outs
This would include providing workers with professional feasibility studies for assessing the viability of new worker co-ops, as well as legal and technical assistance during the process.
Tags Democratic ownership
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Policy in practice
Projects that demonstrate the benefits or may be helped by polices like this.
Friendly Families nursery
This brand new nursery provides affordable, child-centered care co-produced by parents and staff.
Founder Julian Richer transferred 60% of his shares into a John Lewis-style trust.
Former owners sold leading signage company to its workforce.
Preston Community Wealth Building
Preston, recently named the UK's "most improved city", has pioneered more democratic ways to build local wealth.
Riverford switched to employee ownership to protect its values and independence in 2018.
North Ayrshire Community Wealth Building
Scotland’s first community wealth building strategy aims to spread prosperity in an area with historically high poverty rates.
Founders of UK’s biggest animation company handed 75% share to employees to ‘safeguard independence’.
Schools’ Energy Co-operative
Schools’ Energy Co-operative has installed solar panels on schools across the country, working with a network of local groups.
Parents collaborate with skilled staff to provide high-quality affordable care at this well-established nursery.
Suma, Europe’s largest equal-pay co-op, recently celebrated its 40th birthday.