Co-operative Engagement in Rochdale

Published date: 
Monday, 14th December 2020

Co-operative Engagement is Rochdale’s approach to collaborating with people, communities and the Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) sector when a change is happening or we face a challenge.

At Action Together, we want to radically amplify the voice of local people and get them involved in changing the parts of the system that aren't working. And we know that the knowledge, skills and relationships of the VCFSE sector are the best route to facilitating meaningful engagement with people and communities. 

Co-operative Engagement is Rochdale's cross-system approach to putting these ambitions into practice and ensuring that engagement with the VCFSE sector and citizens goes beyond traditional consultation methods. It offers a transformative approach that reflects Rochdale's co-operative history, shifts power and builds a different relationship between the public sector and the people and communities they serve.

The principles of Co-operative Engagement were built on many years of collaborative work, from the Ideas Shop to the Rochdale Citizens. We were also inspired by the City of Winnipeg's approach to public engagement and by the 'Collaborate Out Loud' principles.

The Co-operative Engagement toolkit is a simple resource to help put these principles into practice. Whenever a change is expected or proposed, the toolkit helps partners think through how community insight, involvement or action would be useful.

The starting point is a simple flowchart which helps you think through the challenge or change, and identify the level of public input:

  • Information giving - getting information to the right people and communities, through the right channels, in the right language and format. This is supported by the work of the Inclusive Messaging Group and #TogetherRochdale
  • Involve - working with existing groups and networks to gain deeper insight into the challenge or proposed solution. Spaces and Places is a directory of the VCFSE networks, partnerships, directories and organisations where engagement happens across Rochdale
  • Collaborate - working with people and communities closest to the challenge to plan, implement and evaluate new ways of working.

Get in touch if you want to discuss a potential Co-operative Engagement project –

Or to learn more, sign up to our upcoming #WednesdaysWeekly session about Co-operative Engagement on 20th January from 11.30-12.30 -