Wellbeing and care policy

Decent care is about people, relationships and community. Co-ops are a great way to organise activities and resources around these pillars.

Co-op approaches to care and wellbeing have the potential to make the system safer, effective and more efficient, by improving standards but also crucially by enabling people to be healthier and happier in their homes and communities. This is about more than care - it’s about the good life. 

Co-ops can’t solve the current social care funding crisis; though they can help us spend money and allocate resources in better ways.

Reviews of adult social care

Two major reviews of adult social care in England are now scheduled for the autumn of 2018. These reviews should be a once in a generation opportunity to press for public policy that supports a flourishing of co-operative approaches to wellbeing and care. We have published a concise position paper on the issues that we know will be covered in these reviews, making the case for what we call ‘co-operative approaches to care’ and setting out how public policy could create an environment for these approaches to flourish. 

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Care Quality Commission 'State of the Sector' report

We've produced a paper reflecting on the latest CQC report from a co-operative care perspective. Reports such as these frame and influence the public and political discourse around care and welling. Knowing what the CQC is saying and considering where co-operative approaches offer something in response is crucial.

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Owning Our Care: new research 

With partners in the Co-op Care Forum we have published primary research examining the challenges and opportunities for the user and community-led development of care co-ops in the UK. 

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Co-op Care Forum

Working with a coalition of partners we helped to establish the Co-op Care Forum in 2015. The purpose of this Forum is to identify, support and champion co-operative approaches to care. Read our Terms of Reference.

To date this Forum has:

  • Organised numerous events connecting with a range of stakeholders
  • Considered detail a range of approaches currently being practiced or development
  • Scoped and joint-funded a research project looking at user and community-led care co-op development

From the outset Co-operatives UK provided secretarial support for the Co-op Care Forum. In February 2017 the Forum chose to become wholly autonomous from Co-operatives UK and the secretarial role passed over to democratically appointed officers. 

Co-operatives UK remains an active member of the Co-op Care Forum. For more details, follow the Forum on Twitter.


In partnership with East of England Co-op and the Wales Co-operative Centre we have commissioned the Co-op College to conduct research into user and community-led care co-op development. We expect to publish findings in May 2017.

In 2014 Co-operatives UK Associate Pat Conaty published a report examining the potential for democratic social care in the UK, drawing on examples for around the world. Download here.

From 2006-09 Co-operatives UK and the Department for Health conducted an action research project, which led to the development of the UK's first multi-stakeholder care co-ops. Download the report here.