A Cooperative Council & Sustainability?

A Cooperative Council & Sustainability?

By Jake Barnes, ARTS Brighton Researcher

This short blog proposes a way to incorporate Sustainability into the principles behind the idea of increased collaboration as set out by Brighton and Hove City Council. 


In workshop 1 (17 March) we heard from Emma McDermott (Head of Communities, Equalities and third sector) that in order to effectively deal with current and future pressures, namely reducing finances, the increasing cost of service provision and increases in service demand, the Council is proposing to move towards a more ‘collaborative approach’. Emma outlined nine Coop Council principles that will potentially underline this move (pictured below or view at the Cooperative Council Innovation Network website). As many participants pointed out at workshop 1, there is no reference to Sustainability within these principles at present. Since the intension is for these principles to shape future council actions its seems necessary and timely to introduce some sustainability ambition.


We propose that the City Council adopt a 10th principle that focuses specifically on Sustainability. The proposed  principle builds directly on the second Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere Partnership objective, namely

10. Sustainable Socio-Economic Development

To take positive action on reducing energy and water use and waste generation, to encourage sustainable transport and local food, to develop new social and economic opportunities such as outdoor health, eco-tourism and low-carbon industries and that all other principles are guided by this.  

We welcome your thoughts about this 10th principle and approach. An alternative might be to attempt to modify some of the nine existing Coop Council Principles to better incorporate common Sustainability aspirations. Whilst this is possible, it would maybe appear as if we are attempting to take over the principles.


What about action?

The wording of a 10th principle is important. But perhaps more important is whether we can get the Council to adopt it. We have some ideas about possible steps to lobby the council into adopting a 10th principle along with the nine Coop Council principles. We could collect local organisations who are willing to back the 10th principle and then take it to the Council. As individuals we could all lobby our local councillors. Alternatively we could seek a local councillor who is willing to propose a ‘notice of motion’ at a full council hearing when these issues will be discussed. A ‘notice of motion’ is a request from a councillor for an issue to be discussed and for a decision to be made.

Maybe you have some ideas about how we could collectively achieve this? We welcome your thoughts: post a message below or drop us an email on jake.barnes@sussex.ac.uk

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