A local government network of digital workers is exploring use of the co-op model to further its values and aims.
LocalGov Digital, which is currently an informal volunteer network, aims to raise the standards of digital use by councils across the country.
It is looking to use the co-operative model to create a formal way to offer membership to individuals and organisations, and ask for financial donations in return. The network made the announcement on Twitter.
Carl Haggerty, co-founder of the network and digital communications manager at Devon County Council, said the network has “made stuff happen” to “respond quickly to the needs of practitioners”.
According to Mr Haggerty, the network has such a level of “momentum” that one of the challenges raised by volunteers is “How do I know if I’m part of the network?”
He believes that creating a co-operative, and working with co-op values and principles, could help address this. “[They] match the aspirations of the network – and the ambition to grow around these values also make sense,” he said.
The steering group for the network is proposing to create the co-operative in the first quarter of 2017 and to introduce a £1 membership fee. To grow its resources, the group will also explore a membership offer for organisations, plus it will develop a criteria for sponsorship based on co-op principles.
“The real benefit of the co-operative model is that it can retain the agile and fluid nature of the network which currently works so well,” said Kelly Doonan, a content designer at Devon County Council and member of the network. “It’s not creating a rigid set of directions to one location, but giving ourselves the tools to make our own maps. So that no matter what challenges arise in the future, we can respond to them.
“This is an exciting direction for LocalGov Digital to take. One that opens up lots of opportunities for future growth and development by and for members. This model gives people a stake in the future of the organisation and the opportunity to see that they are members; and that they can and do make a difference.”
- To find out more, and to join in the consultation, visit the LocalGov Digital website.