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Key messages

The message for all is the need for collective leadership. The city currently faces the challenges of existing inequalities, recovery from recession and the need to reduce demand on public services. Assets, resources and human capital within Manchester could be harnessed much more effectively through greater levels of shared leadership across all three sectors. This requires a shift in understanding of what is meant by collaboration: everyone has both a responsibility and a need to contribute to Manchester’s success.

A Civil Economy will focus on the goal of creating a local economy where equity is no longer viewed as an issue of distribution of wealth but also of production of wealth.

For the private sector
There is great potential for building mutually productive relationships between private business and community organisations. We see this as being far more than a structural approach such as developing Corporate Social Responsibility policies. We want to see change within both businesses and social sector organisations where the social issues is not perceived as a ‘bolt on’ but is actually incorporated into corporate attitudes and approaches. Businesses in all sectors need to live and breathe as part of the community they inhabit.

For the public sector
The public sector often sees social sector organisations as market providers who deliver at cost and are an asset and therefore an integral part of the economic fabric of the city. This is true but only a partial picture: it refers only to the larger social sector contractors and those smaller organisations which establish themselves within a supply chain. There should also be an understanding that the social sector can not only provide public services, but is an input into the community and an important force for reducing demand for services: small voluntary organisations are an integral part of active communities. Supporting and enhancing their activity requires different means.

For the voluntary and community sector
Within a Civil Economy the development of enterprise and innovation is a priority. Both existing voluntary groups and social enterprises should develop their ideas based upon a ‘sharing economy’. Sharing leverages a wide variety of resources and lowers barriers to starting small businesses. For instance cities can lower the cost of starting businesses by supporting innovations like shared workspaces, shared commercial kitchens, community-financed start-ups, community-owned commercial centres, and spaces for “pop-up” businesses.

Neil McInroy (Chief Executive of CLES) has written a blog which discusses the need for a Civil Economy "glued by a shared love of place"

Neil's blog: Building a Local Civil Economy