Papers for 1st July 2013 - evidence, John Restakis' previous visit

Below are notes from John Restakis' previous visit, plus Evidence submitted by the Welsh Progressive Co-operators to the Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission

John Restakis’s visit to Wales: Key Points June 2012

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. READ MORE

Evidence to the Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission  ‘Voice, Choice and Control for Older People – a Co-operative Future’  submission by Welsh Progressive Co-operators

You can comment below each paragraph and the Appendices and any questions before the event will be considered for discussion.

Background - Voice, Choice and Control for Older People


Hilda Smith and I have worked in partnership for nearly four decades in promoting Co-operative Development. Hilda initiated and drafted the resolution at the 1976 Labour Party conference, which successfully proposed the establishment of local Co-operative Development Agencies as part of the Government’s interventionist approach to regional economic planning. I followed this up in Wales with practical action, as the then Director of the EC funded South Wales Anti-Poverty Action Centre, in establishing in partnership with local authorities, four local CDAs: West Glamorgan Common Ownership Development Agency, Antur Teifi, North Wales Employment and Resource Centre and Gwent Common Ownership Development Association, from 1977 onwards.

In retiring to Wales, Hilda was later appointed as a lay member of the Government’s National Partnership Forum for Older People (2006-2012). She used every opportunity to promote the Co-operative business model, including contributing to official working groups concerned with Phase 2 of the Strategy for Older People (2008-2012), the Government's ‘Dignity in Care’ Programme (2011) and reviewing the National Service Framework for Older People (2011). Making no visible impact, from 2009 we again combined efforts to promote user controlled co-operative approaches, through conferences, workshops and publications, with financial support from our Co-operative Society. The Wales Co-op Centre were approached in 2010 but, although sympathetic at that time, they were unable to support social services development without specific Ministerial support.

We initiated the Welsh Branch of the Progressive Co-operators on International Co-operators Day 2011 in preparation for 2012 UN Year of Co-operatives. Hilda proposed that we invite international co-op experts Jean-Pierre Girard (Quebec) and John Restakis (Executive Director of the British Columbia Co-operative Association) and subsequently hosted these co-operators in her home in February and June 2012. During 2012, other people and organisations became involved, but our abiding memory was one of frustration experienced in advancing co-operative solutions over many years in seeking to change a deeply engrained culture, based upon state provision and then increasingly privatised provision.

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