Loconomy held one of two launch events on Tuesday December 7th – this one brought together partners at the council house in Birmingham. Below are some notes from the event…

Pete Richmond and Ifor Jones began by setting out how Loconomy has come about, emerging from experimental work under the umbrella of Pioneer Housing. That work focused on how to become a bridge for people.

“The Bridge is our DNA – we walk people across the bridge into good jobs and careers”

Ifor Jones

Conrad Parke of the Centre for Local Economies and the Birmingham Anchor Network spoke enthusiastically about the nature of the work that Loconomy will continue to deliver.

The Public Services Social Value act 2013 ac means the public sector can do more with how it spends it’s money to create wider social value and that includes how we deploy vacancies – getting the jobs into the households where they create the greatest value… The ICAN model has developed through years of practice… The old model was “get a vacancy, advertise the vacancy”.

ICAN changed all of that with the help of the team that has become Loconomy –  now parts of the NHS and other public services can actively recruit into entry level jobs in the same way as we would recruit into a chief exec role, by going out and looking for the people.

of all the people we have helped the one thing they had in common was saying ”I didn’t think I could get a job in the NHS”, they saw it as out of their reach. 

Conrad Parke

Tom and his team are working through local organisations to find people. if they says they’re interested in working in the NHS, they only have to answer a 6 question expression of interest form instead of the old 16 page application form. They are then matched to a pre vocational training course and from there matched to a vacancy.

The result is we have added social value to recruitment. ICAN is recruiting at a rate of 75% from ethnic minority communities  – 37% with a self-reported disability and a 23.3 per cent shift to the most disadvantaged parts of Birmingham compared with previous approaches.

When you’re talking about this model don’t forget how radically different this is. It may feel like common sense but it wasn’t before we did it here.

Manjit Dhillon spoke about the innovative work St Basil’s have been doing in Sandwell to reuse empty buildings to create a home for young people who are also on apprenticeships to work in public services. The Live and Work scheme connects up a home with skill and good jobs in the NHS in Sandwell.

People can get an apprenticeship then a job in the NHS.   We support them to get work and also to stay in work

Manjit Dhillon St Basil’s

Debbie Pippard is from Barrow Cadbury Trust. They have helped fund some initial stages of Loconomy’s work…

Our Economic Justice programme is focussed entirely on Birmingham. We belive that everyone in Birmingham should have enough resources to live life free of the worry of meeting their basic needs. We are supporting acitivities that will help achive that and Loconomy has already proved they can open up good jobs for people.

Debbie Pippard

What followed was a conversation about what Loconomy is and what the work means – here a re a few points made during that discussion:

  • UseIt was an early radical idea about how to get people economically active. It was the foundation for a belief we can do things differently, and the need to do things differently is growing.
  • Loconomy will begin as a delivery vehicle, but our hope is it becomes a strategic player. It needs academic rigour of the data it gathers. 
  • Major employers are seeing there are different sources of talent. The work has shown them that there is talent everywhere.
  • Not just academic rigour but how you translate it into what works.  Telling a good story and the logic behind the work, we have to look at other ways of telling the stories with rigour and passion.
  • Community wealth building is still a theory – the method of doing it is still in development. It was the learning from Place to Work that developed ICan, and from that, we are developing Loconomy
  • If we think about what it means to live a good life – living a more connected life can give people many good things at once.
  • It’s important to help people find neighbourhoods where they have some support so they aren’t isolated. If you don’t have those connections, things fall apart very quickly. 
  • I don’t think you need to do it at scale; you just need to do it well, and help change the whole culture – that’s where the scale comes from. 
  • How do we appreciate the sharing economy and the role of women holding families together? What part do they play in their communities?  What might be the societal problems if we forced everyone into formal work pathways? How do we tell the story of how we have changed something?
  • Practice allows you to build expertise… the more you do, the better you get at it.  You scale it by building expertise and maintaining the people who do it. 
  • We also need to be about debate, strategy and policy.