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.

Response 1 - Voice, Choice and Control for Older People


1.    What opportunities are there for developing and growing co-operatives and mutuals in Wales?

Member-controlled Enterprises (MCEs)arise whenever people decide in common to work together to meet their needs. MCEs must of necessity be established by people coming together of their own free will and must be responsive to the needs they themselves identify. Member education, lay leadership development and sector-specific intelligence and technical support will be fundamental to getting active citizens as active players in the co-operative. It is stressed that unless co-ops, and other forms of MCEs, are truly member-controlled and are focused upon delivering upon their purpose, then there is no reason to expect that they will deliver any better services than any other form of organisation. It may well create wealth and employment, but this not their primary purpose.

One of the most pressing social issues facing Wales today is the lack of access to quality affordable care for older people. Stories of hardship have become a staple part of news coverage since the publication of ‘Happier Old Age’ (Welsh Office, 1978). But now, with our ageing population, elder care is emerging as one of the most urgent challenges facing our society. The crisis which is unfolding is well known to government. One significant contributory cause is demographic, but the key issues are the absence of adequate organisational, human and financial resources for the provision of affordable and accessible elder care in communities where older people live. 

Based on extensive public consultation, in submitting evidence to the Strategy for Older People in February 2013, Hilda identified two examples of effective interventions that the Welsh Government should consider.

Food Train

Social Co-ops

The third phase of the Strategy for Older People (SfOP) is to be launched in Cardiff Bay on 22 May 2013. Although at least two detailed SfOP consultation responses proposed co-operative solutions, this perspective does not appear to be evident in recent reports to be considered by the 2 May 2013 National Partnership Forum for Older People. A helpful person managing the SfOP consultation in January was unaware of the Commission’s existence, although senior officials were and had met with Jean-Pierre Girard and John Restakis in 2012. 

One of the potential shortcomings of the Commission being sponsored by one Government Division is the need to achieve the necessary level of co-ordination and ‘buy in’ across Welsh Government. For example, it is understood that a "Promotion of Citizen Directed Support: A national summit of key stakeholders will be held in late April 2013 to examine existing practice and identify strategic priorities for taking forward a national approach to Citizen Directed Support across Wales."  However, it is unclear if and how this will connect with the Commission's work. Part of the problem could be that Government has not yet publicly consulted on its ‘Social Services Social Enterprise Action Plan’?

Once the Commission has reported to the BETS Minister, it will be essential for the Cabinet to ensure that the significance of recommendations are factored across all relevant Government priorities and programmes, including initiatives such as the proposed Principles for a National Co-op Elder Care Programme and the adaptation of franchising models for the provision of social care by local communities – question 3.

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