MANCHESTER, England, March 31, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Children's services are the number one opportunity for new public service co-operatives, says a report to be launched on Thursday April 1st by Co-operatives UK, the national trade body that campaigns for co-operation.

The new 'Sure Start Co-operatives' could give parents and staff a stake in high quality children's centres across the country.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: There are thirty childcare co-operatives already up and running and the opportunity for far more, if a new government acted to encourage a mutual approach.

The model of parents and staff coming together has proved popular with the rise of co-operative trust schools, with predictions that there will be over 100 schools operating on this model by the second half of 2010.

If you are not going to run services through state organisations, says Ed then the co-operative model is a good one.

But the health warnings are that this can't be a quick fix. Children get the best care when parents have a voice and the staff that look after them are valued themselves. That requires a mutual approach to be part of a long-term and patient strategy for improving public services.

Notes to Editor:

Co-operatives UK is the national member-owned and led organisation that promotes the interests of co-operatives, works to increase awareness and understanding of co-operative values and principles, and supports the development and growth of new and existing co-operatives. It is a focal point for the sector, a forum for innovation and best practice, and a strategic voice for the co-operative movement.

Co-operatives UK represents co-operative enterprise throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

In 2008, there were over 4,820 co-operative businesses in the UK, owned by 11.3 million people (one in five of the population) and sustaining more than 200,000 jobs. The sector had a combined turnover of GBP28.9 billion.

Click here for the Staff and Community-led Co-operatives for Children's Centres


SOURCE: Co-operatives UK

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