Community Wealth Building
What is Community Wealth Building?
Community Wealth Building is a people-centred approach to local economic development.
This approach was initially developed initially by the Democracy Collaborative in the United States, and championed in the UK by the economics think tank, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES). CLES have developed five principles for Community Wealth Building:
- Plural ownership of the economy: a focus on developing different types of ownership approaches (e.g. co-operatives locally owned or socially minded enterprises)
- Making financial power work for local places: increasing flows of investment within local economies, e.g. local authority pension funds are encouraged to redirect investment from global markets to local schemes and community owned banks and credit unions are supported to grow.
- Fair employment and just labour markets: working with large anchor institutions to encourage them to pay the living wage, adopt inclusive employment practices, recruit from lower income areas, build secure progression routes for workers and ensure stable employment contracts and reliable hours.
- Progressive procurement of goods and services: developing a dense supply chain of local enterprises, SMEs, employee-owned businesses, social enterprises, co-operatives, and other forms of socially rooted business, which can provide goods and services to the large local anchor institutions.
- Socially productive use of land and property: ensuring that equitable forms of ownership, management, and local assets are developed, ensuring that any financial gain is harnessed by local people and communities.
The West Lothian Approach
- Work on Community Wealth Building in West Lothian began in December 2020, with a report on Community Wealth Building to the Partnership and Resources Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel.
- In May 2021, it then became a theme for the Community Planning Partnership Board Meeting, from which all papers and presentations can be viewed
- Following this, a paper was taken to Council Executive in June 2021, officially launching Community Wealth Building work through the recruitment of a Community Wealth Building Officer through the Edinburgh & South East Scotland City Region Deal, and opening applications for the Scottish Government's Place Based Investment Capital Grants for projects with the goal of building community wealth - Place Based Investment Programme
- Five Place Based Investment Projects were approved by Council Executive in late October, and shortly after in November, CLES began their consultancy to help develop an Action Plan for Community Wealth Building in West Lothian
- In late November and early December 2021, the Community Wealth Building team and CLES held discovery, vision, and design workshops with key officers from across the Council, and with members of the Community Planning Partnership - Community Wealth Building Update
- The next steps of the process include a workshop with the Council's elected members, and further stakeholder and community engagement to develop the Action Plan, before we can start to implement some of the suggested changes. Pending confirmation from the Scottish Government, the team hope to launch the second round of the Place Based Investment Programme funding in Spring 2022.
Staff and Partners
The Community Wealth Building Team
The Community Wealth Building Team consists of a Community Wealth Building Officer, Graduate Community Engagement and Wealth Building and Economic Development Manager
To find out more about Community Wealth Building or book a presentation for your group, contact: CommunityWealthBuilding@westlothian.gov.uk
- 3 November 2021: Alongside CLES, the Community Wealth Building team hosted an information and Q&A session at the Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian Third Sector Summit
18 November 2021: At the November Conference of the Joint Forum of Community Councils in West Lothian, the Community Wealth Building team held an information and Q&A session for Community Councils, with emphasis on how Community Wealth Building is people-centred.