Redbridge Council hopes to build a different kind of relationship with local people by creating new physical spaces that combine services (like libraries, children’s services and GPs) with facilities for residents to come together and run their own activities. With most development projects, communities are only consulted once building plans have been produced, shortly before a submission for planning consent. Redbridge on the other hand, are taking a co-design approach to the whole process of shaping, designing and delivering the hubs. This invites trust and partnership between the council and the community from the very start.

This approach represents quite a radical shift for the council, and required it to operate differently internally as well as externally. 

In a special session of our HLS Learning Community for Local Authority Pioneers we were joined by the Redbridge Community Hubs team who shared how they are working. 

We heard that power sharing and collaboration are central to the ethos of both the team and the programme – with the team culture and work style closely aligned to what they are trying to achieve in the borough and with residents. 

Ed Anderton, Redbridge’s Community Hubs Learning and Evaluation Lead described how the team’s principles and operating model have been influenced by Buurtzorg, a pioneering healthcare organisation whose nurse-led model of holistic care has revolutionised community care in the Netherlands. With some support from the Buurtzorg team, the Community Hubs team worked together to develop their team framework and agreement.

The framework defines what they are working together to achieve, capturing their commitments to partners, residents and collaborators, including how they will communicate, their responsibilities and accountabilities. 

The team agreement defines how they work together to fulfil the commitments set out in the framework, all guided by their principles: to work with respect, awareness and generosity.

Members of the Hubs team shared how this works in practice – how they share power by rotating different roles and responsibilities in meetings; how they use feedback and reflective practice to embed learning as their operating model; the model they use to distribute decision-making power.

This led to a rich discussion which surfaced many questions and highlighted practices that could be adopted within more traditional team structures as a starting point for power shift. 

Watch the video for more details – there is a lot to learn for anyone interested in working in partnership with communities or innovating solutions to complex problems.