Commission on Becoming a Cooperative Council

Work to guide South Tyneside Council to becoming a cooperative council is set to come under the spotlight when a special scrutiny commission begins next week (Tuesday 23 May).

A cooperative council is one that works in partnership with local community organisations to get the maximum from all of the resources available for the area. In doing this, it builds the four key values of honesty, openness, fairness and social responsibility into its day to day business.

South Tyneside Council is joining the Cooperative Council Innovation Network - a collaboration between local authorities committed to transforming the way they work with their local communities. By becoming a member, the Council can learn from best practice while also being part of a national voice to help influence national debate and policy formulation around the future of public services.

When they meet on Tuesday, members of South Tyneside's Overview & Scrutiny Co-ordinating and Call-In Committee will set up a scrutiny commission specifically to help guide the Council to becoming a cooperative council.

Committee Chairman, Councillor Rob Dix said: "As budgets reduce and demand for services increases, there is a real risk that there will be a gap between the services the community expects to receive and the services the Council is able to deliver.

"However, by thinking more creatively and working more cooperatively, the Council can still provide sustainable services while meeting the challenges it faces.

"When we meet next week, we will be discussing how we take the commission forward. Once the commission is complete, we will have a clear plan as to how we develop as a cooperative council over the next five years."

During the course of the commission, members will talk to key stakeholders and explore best practice among local authorities already signed up to the Cooperative Council Innovation Network.

The move to becoming a cooperative council was agreed last month during a meeting of the Full Council.

Committee members will also receive a presentation from the Acting Director of Public Health, Tom Hall, on the public health priorities for South Tyneside for 2017/18.

The Committee will hear about a wide range of health issues including work underway to ensure children in South Tyneside get the best start in life as well as life expectancy and general health and wellbeing. There will also be an update on how the Council works with its partners to address challenges such as obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, teenage pregnancies and early deaths from cancer, heart disease and other health conditions.

Councillor Dix added: "Improving the health and wellbeing of the Borough's residents is a key priority for the Council. For all the challenges faced in South Tyneside, whether it is life limiting illnesses, excessive drinking or unhealthy weight gain, there is a lot of work going on to reduce lifestyle risk factors and protect the health and wellbeing of residents.

"We are keen to hear more about the impact of such issues on the Borough's population and the approaches being taken to help reduce inequalities and provide better outcomes across South Tyneside."

Members of the press and public are invited to attend the next meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Co-ordinating & Call-In Committee, which takes place on Tuesday 23 May,at10am,at South Shields Town Hall.

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