Saturday, 29 December 2012

A Co-operative New Year ?

Enjoyed a very productive visit to CASA Knowsley (on the edge of Liverpool) just before Christmas. Part of the Care And Share Associates (CASA) Group, based in Newcastle, CASA Knowsley are one of a handful of care co-operatives in the north of England. Basically, a workers owned and run company they recruit locally, often from the ranks of the long term unemployed, and deliver local domiciliary care services in and around their own community. A true co-operative, their strength appears to lie literally in the sense of ownership felt by their workers which leads to a real commitment to the task, much lower turn over of staff and therefore lower recruitment and re-training costs. They still have to compete for Council contracts against private sector businesses and third sector organsations but where they have successfully secured contracts the evidence is that high quality services are delivered and people enjoy being part of the organisation. Don't know if the concept can be transplanted to Edinburgh but given our commitment to creating the Co-operative Council it's an idea whose time may have arrived. Needless to say talks are continuing and if we do set up something similar, remember where you heard it first !

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