John Restakis’s visit to Wales: summary of issues

David Smith, Wales Progressive Co-operators

1.  John welcomed the emphasis placed in the forthcoming Social Services Bill on the need for services to be user-centred and user-directed, the need to increase service users’ access to information and the need for early intervention.

2.  John argued that to put this vision into practice it is necessary to ensure that users participate as equals in the governance of the body providing services and that this can best be achieved in a co-operative model.  This equalises access to information on finances, performance statistics, quality standards, development priorities etc. and also provides service users with a social network based on reciprocity which enhances their social capital and sense of well-being.

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Proposed Co-operative Care Development Forum

Thursday 27TH September 2012, 1-4pm
Cartrefi Cymru 5 Coopers Yard, Curran Road, Cardiff, CF10 5NB


1. Update on our 2012 Co-operative Care Journey – including feedback from the John Restakis Tour:

Cardiff, Newport, Neath, Powys, Conwy and others.
2. Agreeing the Next Steps
       (a) Co-op Care Steering Group
       (b) Co-op Care Public Forum
       (c) Home Care Co-op DIY Kit and ‘Neath’ Convention
3. Government’s Co-operative and Mutual Commission

Further information on (01633) 266781

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EU Procurement

We found recent comments by Jane Hutt, AM, the Finance Minister, on procurement rules and 'community benefit' to be very helpful and we have asked Jane to reinforce this message at the earliest opportunity, so that this is fully understood at the local level.

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SEUK challenges company attempting to trademark Social Enterprise

A company called Salesforce is using the term social enterprise to describe its products and services, and is making attempts to trademark Social Enterprise globally. The most recent letter sent to Salesforce highlights the absence of legal status for social enterprises. Social Enterprise UK says:

“…we are increasingly concerned about what is happening at Salesforce - your repeated use of the name of our sector to describe your products and service; your attempts to trademark Social Enterprise in countries around the world for this use. We hope you will understand that this is confusing to our customers and stakeholders, and therefore damaging to us all…. Confusion of the term social enterprise and our cause at this time is dangerous to us and the people, communities and organisations we are trying to help. Yet you are repeatedly attempting to legally appropriate the term for private gain”.

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Framework for Action on Independent Living


Framework for Action on Independent Living

Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Leader of the House

17 July 2012

I would like to update Assembly Members on the Welsh Government’s forthcoming Framework for Action on Independent Living.  The Framework will set out the action to be taken to promote the rights of disabled people in Wales to live independently and exercise the same rights as other citizens. It will contribute to the Welsh Government’s Strategic Equality Plan and support the Tackling Poverty Action Plan.

In my evidence to the Petitions Committee on 11 October 2011, I said that the Welsh Government would develop a Framework for Action on Independent Living by summer 2012: the Framework fulfils that commitment.

In developing the Framework, the Welsh Government has recognised that many disabled people in Wales are vulnerable to the impact of the UK Government’s programme of welfare reform. The Framework can only address those issues within the Welsh Government’s powers,  but it will set out clearly what we are doing, and intend to do, to promote a more inclusive and enabling society.

The Framework will address the priorities identified by disabled people, and has been developed in partnership with them and disabled people’s organisations, with engagement across Wales. 

The Framework will be launched for consultation on 20 September and I will ensure Members receive copies at that time, followed by an oral statement during the Autumn Session.


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Setting up a Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission


Edwina Hart MBE, OStJ AM, Minister for Business,

Enterprise, Technology and Science 17 July 2012

 Co-operatives I have set up a Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission (the Commission), under the Chairmanship of Professor Andrew Davies, Swansea University’s Strategic Adviser.

The remit of the Commission will be to make recommendations on growing and developing the co-operative and mutual economy in Wales in order to create jobs and wealth in support of the Welsh Government’s aims and ambitions. 

The role of the Commission will be to:

  • Consider the evidence for supporting the co-operative and mutual sector in Wales;
  • Consider existing business advice for the co-operative and mutual sector and provide suggestions on how this might be strengthened;
  • Identify specific areas that might be targeted for additional support by the Welsh Government;
  • Consider best practice and evaluations that may be available;
  • Set out a vision for the co-operative and mutual economy in Wales;
  • Identify and establish benchmarks; and
  • Provide suggestions on strategic direction and practical recommendations for the achievement of the vision.

I am delighted that Professor Andrew Davies has agreed to Chair the Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission.  Andrew brings a wealth of experience as a former Assembly Member for Swansea West from 1999 to 2011 and as a former Welsh Government Finance Minister, and Economic Development Minister he is well known across Wales and the UK.  Andrew also led the Ford Motor Company’s ground-breaking Employee Development and Assistance Programme in South Wales in the 1990s and served as the associate director of a public affairs company before being elected to the National Assembly for Wales in 1999.  Andrew is also a trustee and non-executive director of UK Charity Bank.

I will make a further announcement on the membership of the Commission after the summer recess.

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We can do so much more collectively than we can individually: "to transform society and to lift all of us together".

Went to an inspiring event at the Senedd last week, organised by the Wales Progressive Co-operators and supported by Age Concern Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan; one of ten presentations across Wales by John Restakis from Canada, author of Humanising the Economy (New Society Publishers, BC, 2010).

Mark Drakeford AM and Vaughan Gething AM were in support at the pre-event event where we were treated to great eloquence combined with conviction, evidence and practicalities, and lots of synergies with co-production. Exciting stuff!

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Hilda Smith, feminist and co-operator

Hilda Smith, MBE - ‘To hope, to dare and do’.

Hilda Smith, a distinguished feminist and co-operator, died recently aged 94. Born and raised in Burnley, she started work at 14 earning six shillings a week in a sewing factory.

Active in the feminist, co-operative and labour movements for over 50 years, her relentless commitment to social and gender equality stands out as an example of selfless commitment to the wellbeing and welfare of others. Hilda constantly fought for the things that she believed in, she was practically minded, compassionate and stoical in her determination.

Hilda started her political career in 1958 serving her apprenticeship in Woking Co-operative Womens Guild. In 1963 she was elected to the Political Purposes Committee of the influential Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society (RACS), becoming its first and only female chair within a short space of time. RACS was the only Society directly affiliated to the Labour Party. She used her influence to ensure that the voice of ordinary women and their families was heard by the Labour Party and Government, with easy access to Labour Ministers and Prime Minsters.

For Hilda, the 'personal was the political'. As a women who entered formal education in her mid forties, Hilda knew from experience that access to social, educational and economic opportunities was a key issue. She worked alongside prominent women MPs and trade union leaders on the National Joint Committee of Working Women (NJC), to bring about the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975, and the formation of the Equal Opportunities Commission, who took steps to bring this to the fore.

As a patient in a TB sanatorium from 1947 to 1950, Hilda understood the importance of preventive health. She contributed extensively on health policy issues and chaired an NJC national working group which produced a comprehensive ‘Health Care for Women’ policy document (1977), (Virago). As a former nurse and as a social worker, Hilda contributed extensively to the NJC’s evidence to Government inquiries. including the Seebohm Committee (1969), the Finer Commission on Single Parent Families (1974), and the NHS Royal Commission (1979). She championed new and neglected issues and, in 1982, authored an NJC food policy statement which recommended developing a Government policy on food and nutrition to build a national approach to healthy eating. .

Throughout, she was never concerned with courting popularity. In 1981, against wider conventional opinion she supported a National Minimum Wage campaign because she knew this would help millions of women.

In 1990 she received a Shadow Ministry for Women award for “her lifetime, particularly within the Co-operative Movement, fighting for equality for women and for their full representation at all levels of the Labour Movement”.

Her meticulously-kept NJC papers and encouragement led Labour historian Christine Collette to take a fresh look in her book, the ‘Newer Eve’, at what was called the ‘second wave of feminism'.

On retiring to Wales, Hilda continued her work as Health Convenor for the Fawcett Society. She was very active for another 26 years and was awarded an MBE in the 2013 Honours List for “services to frail and vulnerable people”.

It is hard to measure the impact of Hilda Smith upon the way in which we have become committed to equality over the last 40 years. Her quiet determination and relentless passion helped to improve the lives of many people who will never know her name or understand her contribution. She lived life with purpose and with passion to deliver a greater vision of a fair and just society, and helped to make this world a better place.

David Smith

Hilda is survived by her sons Peter and myself, three grandchildren and nine grandchildren

Hilda Smith, born 10 February 1919, died 27 March 2013


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