Community Wealth Building in Wirral

(2018 – ongoing)

CLES is working with Wirral Council to create a more inclusive economy by working across all five of the animating principles of community wealth building. This is enabled by strong collaboration across the Borough, which suggests great potential for reducing inequalities.

Context

  • Wirral is an economically varied Borough, containing both post-industrial and more affluent areas. 
  • Despite this affluence, it is ranked as the 66th most deprived authority in England with 10 neighbourhoods in the 1% most deprived in the country 
  • The Borough also has a steadily climbing budget gap to 2020/21 due to increasing demand pressures forcing them to find new ways to stay financially sustainable.
  • In order to continue to provide vital public services and create an inclusive economy for its residents, Wirral Council are in the process of adopting a community wealth building approach that spans the five pillars of community wealth building and have now launched a comprehensive community wealth building strategy.

Community Wealth Building in Wirral

Empowering socially generative suppliers

Wirral Council have developed a portal for suppliers to record their socially generative activities and ensure public spending has a positive effect upon the local economy. CLES are also working with the Council to explorhow contracts can be awarded to organisations with socially generative organisational forms. 

Targeting workforce inclusivity

CLES are working with Wirral Council and local anchor institutions to make workplaces a key site for advancing opportunities for those living in the most deprived neighbourhoods. This includes targeting less affluent areas for recruitment, paying the Living Wage and offering apprenticeships and in-work advancement opportunities. 

Exploring community banks and local pension fund investment  

Wirral Council are exploring opportunities to collaborate with Liverpool, Preston and the Community Savings Bank Association to support the establishment of a North West Community Bank, as well as reviewing the possibility of using a portion of the Merseyside Pension Fund for local investment opportunities.

Council assets as a cornerstone of inclusive regeneration

Work has begun on an analysis of the social role of the Council’s 1,898 land and property assets and to explore their role in driving forward inclusive regeneration approachesfor example as part of a Wirral-wide Community Land Trust. 

Supporting socially generative business

Wirral Council are exploring what business support is required to foster a nurturing environment for generative organisational forms (e.g. cooperatives, CICs, CLTs etc). This follows on from CLES suggestion to make plural ownership of the economy a key corporate priority for the Council.  

Collaboration

Wirral Council chairs the Wirral Partnership, giving them a strong stewarding role with other anchor institutions in the Borough. This provides an ideal steering group to drive through actions that deliver all five pillars of community wealth building, such as linking workforce priorities and asset management strategies. 


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