Reflections on Growing the New Economy
Over 250 people took part in the Growing the New Economy Convention, organised by PSTA partner E3M and Jonathan Bland’s Social Business International, in Oldham on 12 February.
With a mix of interactive plenary sessions and 20 different breakouts delegates explore how we can “turn up the dial on local economic development and the way services are delivered to promote truly inclusive growth” A short report about the event and some video footage of the highlights will be available soon here.
Both the PSTA and our partner RedQuadrant participated and exhibited at the conference. Overview from Joanne Peters, one of the RedQuadrant leads:
This day of sharing and learning about place-based innovation, co-operatives, co-operative working and social enterprise saw a room packed and full of energy and the agenda was bursting with real examples of where doing things differently has had a positive impact. There was a particular focus on how local authorities, as key actors in localities, can drive change by engaging with the voluntary and community sector in a different way. This included:
- Public Benefit Partnerships and using existing procurement tools to support a transition from transactional price-based commissioning, to relationship-based commissioning for long term public benefit
- Presentation of the social prescribing partnership in Oldham as a case study where the council and community sector have both invested in building a partnership around a common purpose with a focus on longer term security, social value and community wealth building
- Showcasing the benefits of the E3M Alchemy approach to bringing communities together around a common purpose
- A shift in the relationship from commissioner / provider to one of partnership where the wider sector is engaged earlier and involved in co-designing solutions around a place.
(See here for some of our thinking on this)
There was also the view from the sector, recognising that there is work to be done to build the prominence of social enterprise in the mainstream despite social enterprises and co-operatives being the fastest growing areas of UK business. Other sessions examined different funding and financing models from grants to community shares to crowdfunding and looked at practical considerations such as working together and building shared language and understanding.
It was great to be part of this inspiring event and there was a real sense of optimism, galvanised by the coming together of so many people and ideas, that this point in time could be pivotal for the sector.