In 2018 to early 2019, we consulted Civil Society about its role in Inclusive Growth in the West Midlands. Although we only managed to scratch the surface of things going on in the region, we documented many wonderful examples of organisations working to ensure that the economy works in a more redistributive way. These stories are found in the case studies in the report appendices, and we want to ensure that we carry on spreading the word about the work already underway in so many places. We think it’s really important we figure out ways to share best practice and get investment into the schemes which are doing vital work and can be protected scaled up and replicated.
We hope that the report is of use to Civil Society organisations. While the calls to action are mainly for the WMCA and other authorities, Civil Society have demonstrated their resourcefulness and ability to get things done from the grassroots. We have no doubt that Civil Society will think of creative solutions to some of the issues and actions identified in this report. However, we’re aware of the lack of capacity in many organisations to do anything other than delivering their front-line services, and we strongly call on the WMCA to make it easier for Civil Society voice to be heard. In the report we ask for Civil Society representation on the boards of the WMCA, who would help shape investment programmes and to support a forum for citizen and local economy focused development discussions. While a single member of Civil Society will hardly be able to represent the whole of Civil Societies views’, we demonstrate in our report that there are many common agendas between organisations, and having a Civil Society voice at the top level will help the rest of the WMCA be mindful of the impact of policy decisions. We would also hope the representative would be a clear way for escalation of issues and ideas into the WMCA, as we know it will not be possible to carry out resource intensive work like this report frequently.
There’s a deep passion within the Civil Society we spoke to, to ensure that a more inclusive economy makes it’s way across the West Midlands. We want to ensure that passion is amplified, and are keen to work with Civil Society, and other, to turn the dream into reality.
If you want to work together with us on this, let us know.