Decision details

The Co-operative Council, Sharing Power: A New Settlement between Citizens and the State

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The Co-operative Council programme is aiming to; develop a new settlement between the state and citizens in Lambeth, look at alternative ways in which services can be provided and improve the quality of public service delivery.


(report 210/10-11)


The Deputy Leader of the Council introduced the report. She reported that a vast amount of work had been undertaken by the Co-operative Council Commission including receiving nearly 3000 individual submissions and contributions from over 150 organisations.  Submissions ranged from national to very local groups and covered a very wide range of issues. She explained that the proposed changes would be part of a continuing culture change within the Council and enhanced co-operation with residents and other organisations.


The Deputy Leader of the Council asked that Cabinet’s thanks be recorded to the Divisional Director Policy, Equalities and Performance and the Policy, Equalities and Performance team for their hard work on what had been one of the largest consultations ever run by the Council and that thanks also be recorded to all those who had contributed, including the Commissioners themselves, organisations, residents and officers from across the Council.


The Divisional Director Policy, Equalities and Performance highlighted the work completed by the Commission and how it had resulted in 14 conclusions and 36 recommendations as listed in the report. Particular recommendations highlighted included a new approach to commissioning services, development of an incentivisation scheme, developing the personalisation agenda and the need to tackle the key issue of worklessness. She also explained that, as well as the early adopters listed in the report, there would be further rounds of projects developed and further reports to Cabinet related to these projects and other further developments.


Councillor Alex Davies, as spokesperson for the Majority Opposition Group, welcomed the significant effort that had gone into creating the report and explained he saw significant similarities with the government’s Big Society agenda and so felt the report could be welcomed by his party. He asked why progress had not been more swift and why the Lambeth Living ALMO was not included as an early adopter. He also asked that the Cabinet examine options to bring in local area decision making. Finally he said that he did not want the Council to be afraid to devolve power or save money.


Alan Gadd, Faiths Together in Lambeth, highlighted the work that Faiths Together in Lambeth were doing to foster links between different faiths and promote involvement in public life. He felt that his organisation was a natural fit for getting involved in co-operative council projects. He noted that they had made a submission to the consultation process in the autumn.


The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources noted the importance of seeing this as a positive project and a way of taking charge of the Borough’s destiny. He explained the importance of ensuring any budget savings were real and sustainable.


The Cabinet Member for Housing noted that this report put Lambeth Council at the forefront of the development of a co-operative style of operation. She also explained that the Housing Performance Cabinet Advisory Panel had been set up to tackle the challenges facing the management of the Council’s housing stock.


The Cabinet Member for Environment reported that the Green Community Champions scheme was an important way of bringing people together and bringing jobs and opportunities. She also noted that significant work had been done internally to reform the Council and it was now an appropriate time to take the next step.


The Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing highlighted the importance of ensuring that residents were able to see a change in how they were consulted and in how services were provided within the next twelve months. He stated that this was an opportunity to learn from other organisations and the community and to ensure that equality and social justice was at the heart of the Council’s actions and that it was important to keep sight of all the Council’s basic values.


The Cabinet Member for Communities and Community Safety noted the vital work of the Leader of the Council in driving this vision forward. She highlighted the importance of ensuring the schemes represented the whole community, including excluded groups, giving as an example projects developed around the issue of offender management.


The Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and the 2012 Games welcomed the early adopters, in particular how the youth service changes enabled users to design services around their own needs. She highlighted the need to develop a sustainable model for local libraries and other services. Finally, she emphasised the importance of keeping residents informed as to how their ideas were being developed.


The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People acknowledged that there were potential risks in making changes of this scale and explained that it was important that if something did not work that it be re-examined and a new approach be tried. He also welcomed the strong representation from Children’s and Young People’s Service in the list of early adopters.


The Deputy Leader of the Council noted that this work would develop over a number of years and that this was an opportunity to tap into the tremendous energy and diversity across the Borough. She highlighted that opening up the procurement process was particularly key to the development of new services.


Councillor Clive Bennett, Liberal Democrat Group, encouraged Cabinet to develop this model as widely as possible, to ‘think the unthinkable’. He expressed disappointment that the Town Centre Managers had not featured more in the report as he thought they were in a good position to be involved. He also noted that United Resident’s Housing had made good progress recently and a lot could be learnt from that they had done.


Responding to questions, officers:

·        Confirmed that the Green Community Champions Scheme had been omitted from the report in error and was to be included in the list of early adopters

·        That all formal contributors would receive a response to their submission.

·        That general communication options to residents were being considered.




(1)   To formally receive and endorse the Co-operative Council Citizens’ Commission final report, entitled “The Co-operative Council, Sharing Power: A New Settlement between Citizens and the State”.


(2)   To approve the proposed list of first wave Co-operative Council Early Adopters and direct the council to commence implementation of these, alongside providing views on the development and completion of feasibility relating to the further two phases of implementation subject to any internal review through overview and scrutiny.


(3)   To request that the Chief Executive lead a cross council programme to consider the recommendations of the Commission’s final report and how they could be taken forward through a Co-operative Council Implementation Plan.


(4)   To request that the Chief Executive present his findings and draft Co-operative Council Implementation Plan to Cabinet.

Report author: Sophia Looney

Publication date: 07/02/2011

Date of decision: 24/01/2011

Decided at meeting: 24/01/2011 - Cabinet

Effective from: 05/02/2011

Accompanying Documents: