The Minister said:
“This diverse sector makes an important contribution to the Welsh economy while providing valuable support and services for individuals and communities. However it is important that we understand how this sector could grow and develop and examine what interventions and support may be needed.
“I am delighted to announce the members of the Commission who will work under the leadership of Professor Andrew Davies. They bring with them a high level of knowledge, experience and expertise and will add value to the work of the Commission in developing a vision and framework to support the growth of the mutual and co-operative sector in Wales.”
In Wales, co-operatives generate more than £1billion in income a year and employ an estimated 7,000 people ( 2010 figures). Eight of Wales' co-operatives, which have a combined turnover of more than £165million, feature in the UK’s top 100 co-operatives by turnover.
Chaired by Professor Andrew Davies, Swansea University’s Strategic Adviser, the Commission will make recommendations on growing and developing the co-operative and mutual economy in Wales in order to create jobs and wealth in support of the Welsh Government’s aims and ambitions.
The following are appointed to the Commission:
- Nicholas Bennett, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru
- Dr Molly Scott Cato, Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at Roehampton University
- Dame Pauline Green, President of International Co-operative Alliance
- David Jenkins OBE, Chair of the Aneurin Bevan Health Board and Chair of Wales Co-operative Centre.
- Robin Murray, Industrial and environmental economist
- Dr Ben Reynolds, Director of Trilein
- Sir Paul Williams OBE, CStJ, DL, Former Chief Executive NHS Wales
Professor Andrew Davies said:
"The setting up of the Welsh Government Co-operative and Mutuals Commission comes at an opportune time to explore the potential for development of the co-operative and mutual sectors in Wales and their contribution to the economy and services.
“Many people are now looking for alternative and more ethical ways of running businesses and services. Co-ops, like the Co-operative Group including the Co-op Bank and Mutuals like the John Lewis Partnership, are some of our largest and most successful companies in the UK. The Welsh Government is ambitious in examining ways this alternative approach to how companies and services in Wales can be run."
The Commission will :
- Consider the evidence for supporting the co-operative and mutual sector in Wales;
- Consider the existing business advice for the co-operative and mutual sector and provide suggestions on how this might be strengthened;
- Identify specific areas that might be targeted for additional support by the Welsh Government;
- Consider best practice and evaluations that may be available;
- Set out a vision for the co-operative and mutual economy in Wales;
- Identify and establish benchmarks;
- Provide suggestions on strategic direction and practical recommendations for the achievement of the vision
It is to hold its first meeting next month and will hear and gather evidence from key individuals and organisations with the aim of providing a draft report to the Minister in September 2013.
Commission members are not remunerated although some travel and other reasonable expenses incurred can be claimed.