Collaborative Economy Expert Panel
The Scottish Government’s Expert Advisory Panel on the Collaborative Economy recently recommended that it “support innovation and scaling of platform co-operatives or new models which offer a better deal for workers.” We are particularly happy with this, as we gave evidence to the panel on the potential for platform co-ops. If the government accepts this recommendation, then the opportunity to develop a programme of support for platform co-operation in Scotland will be significant and must not be passed up.
Community Empowerment Act
A flagship Act intended to give people greater control over local communities across Scotland now recognises the role co-operatives can play in making community ownership and control possible, thanks to lobbying efforts by the co-operative sector.
The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act gives local communities powers to take control of vital local assets. After campaigning from Co-operatives UK and partners in Scotland, amendments were made to the Bill, and made it into the final Act, that enable communities to use the co-operative model, in the form of a Community Benefit society (Bencom), to take ownership and control of local assets.
This model is already in use across Scotland - and the UK more widely - where thousands of people are saving vital assets or starting new ventures through community share schemes, by pooling their resources and collectively running new community enterprises.
In addition to the inclusion of the co-operative model, a substantial amendment by the Scottish Green Party was accepted that extends the community right-to-buy to include football clubs playing in the four divisions of the Scottish Premiership Football League. This benefits fan owned Supporters’ Trusts, most of which use the Bencom model to ensure they have a stake in their club.