Column: 'Working to deliver better services'

Tameside Council's Executive Leader, Councillor Brenda Warrington, explains how the borough's local authority has entered a new era.

We stand at the cusp of a truly historic moment for Tameside’s communities. Last week, at their annual conference in Rochdale, the Co-Operative Councils Innovation Network ratified Tameside Council’s application to become a Co-Operative Council. We are now part of a growing and influential network of local authorities committed to developing a new relationship with our citizens. 

In recognition of this important milestone on 3 October, we held a Tameside Co-Operative Council Summit in Dukinfield Town Hall. The first of what will hopefully be many events of its kind, the Summit brought together representatives from local public sector, voluntary and community organisations to share their ideas and insights on how to further develop cooperative working with elected members and council officers.

Through group work, discussions and a “market-stall” style showcase of existing co-operative projects in Tameside, representatives were able to provide important feedback on how we can continue to work better together across the borough. 

Some of the co-operative projects which held a stall at the summit included Tameside Armed Services Community, The Grafton Centre, The Together Centre, Tameside Youth Council, Cashbox Credit Union, Home Start, the Partnership Engagement Network, Community Response and the Mental Wellbeing Collaborative. Although the precise model varies by service, it is believed that co-operative approaches can be applied to almost every aspect of local government, including community regeneration, economic development, youth services, housing, leisure, social services and education.

The Summit has been a really fantastic opportunity to showcase how co-operative working is already improving people’s lives in Tameside as well as share and explore ideas for where else we can embrace this model of collaborative working to have a positive impact and ensure residents remain central in our thoughts. There has already been lots of inspiring discussions and feedback from our partners and the local community and we will continue to welcome suggestions and comments. 

I’m excited to see where – working together - we can take this next. In addition to the Summit, engagement with residents continues to take place, or is scheduled to take place, at community groups, schools and colleges. 

We have taken the first step in a journey that may very well end up defining Tameside for years, even decades to come. I believe we still have much to learn, but I also think that there is much we can teach others as well. Let’s take the next steps together. 

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