Speaker notes: Co-operatives and the Public Sector

Why did we choose our model and to choose to spin out?
This is crucial to knowing what impact you want to make, and the impact you will make in your community.

Profit: Often considered a dirty word but essential for sustainable business and having a business mind instead of a public sector approach has made the biggest difference for us in how we operate. Don’t think this means we are cutthroat and have lost our heart and compassion but we think more creatively to get solutions and customer is king in business and by listening to them and working with them we feel this creates a better model.

Contracts: Spin Outs have a lot of reliance on one contract which is a huge pressure moving forward as will we be ready to go against other competitors, how can we ensure social value is key to contracts not just the bottom line.

What was life like before, would we go back? We have worked so hard to get where we are and invested so much energy and effort into building a successful cooperative how would our members feel about being nationalised, having others steer our destiny?

Barriers we found and still find? We had a difficult spin out relationship with the union because of their opposition to spinning out, but we felt it was the right thing for our employees and our customers, our colleagues didn’t make the decision and were privatised which was what we were most fearful of.

Learning From Others: The Italian Experience, after a visit to social care cooperatives last year and the publication of the Cooperative Advantage we feel there are things we need to look at as a cooperative movement but also in legislative changes.

Milly Gaskin

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