The publishing platform created by councils, for councils.

It’s official! We are now Open Digital Cooperative

We’ve registered a new not-for-profit cooperative to support and develop LocalGov Drupal from January 2023.

Read on to find out why we need a new legal entity, our new vision, mission, and aims, and how we chose the name.

Our funding from the Department of Levelling up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC), runs out at the end of December, and from January we are switching to a new membership model. (You can read more about this in our previous blog post).

Councils and suppliers will be invited to pay a subscription fee to keep the project going. For this, they will receive a number of benefits and be invited to join as members of the co-op and become involved in how it’s run. 

Our product will still be called LocalGov Drupal. The new entity we’ve created, with a new name (more on that later), is born out of the urgent need to find a sustainable model and reflects our long-term ambitions for the project.

You can find the registration documents on Companies House.


New co-op, new Vision, Mission and, Aims

In time we want to bring our unique platform and collaborative model to more public sector bodies, helping more cash-strapped public services to save time and money.

This ambition is laid out in our new vision, mission, and aims (V/M/A).

The creation of this new vision started on our away day, when participants commented on the existing V/M/A.

The ambition in the room was palpable and there was a clear desire to bring the project, platform, and learnings to a much wider community.

There was a strong feeling that the mention of ‘councils’ and ‘drupal’ be dropped from our long-term vision and to think BIG.

That’s not to say we’re abandoning either. Over the next year, we’ll still have a razor focus on providing the best possible CMS to our council members. We also have no current plans to move away from Drupal or to start to develop in other open-source platforms.

But who knows what the future could hold?


Our Vision, Mission, and Aims

Vision (the dream)

Our vision is for all public sector digital services to be accessible, evidence-based, and open source.

Mission (what we’ll do to realise our dream)

Our mission is simple: to improve the experience of citizens using public sector websites.

Aims (how we achieve our mission)

We aim to foster digital transformation through collaboration on open source products and projects.

We will save organisations time and money by developing a shared pool of:

  • code
  • research
  • expertise

We will encourage organisations to build on shared solutions, rather than solving problems that others have solved before.


Our new name

On the away day we also ran an ideas session to come up with a new name for our cooperative.

There were already a few contenders after we put a shout-out on Slack, but we wanted to add to the long list before a final vote.

We ended up with a list of around 30 names, and attendees then narrowed the list down before a subgroup (nominated at the awayday) created a shortlist of three to go out to the popular vote on our Slack channel: 

  • Common Good Cooperative
  • Citizen Tech
  • Open Digital Cooperative

Open Digital Cooperative was the eventual clear winner with 58% of the vote. Thanks to all those who voted and took part in the process.


Thanks to our founding directors

As we mentioned in our previous blog those present on the away day also elected an interim board of directors to create the company.

The interim board is Will, Maria, and Finn, who quickly set up the new cooperative and continue to administer the new company alongside the council-led Steering Group.

We’ll be holding elections in the next year to democratically elect a board that is representative of the project as a whole.


The future’s bright

It feels like quite a momentous moment and we hope it’s just the latest stage in a very bright future for our young project.

The board and Steering Group and now working through some of the issues involved in setting up and running the new company, such as working out a fair system of work allocation, opening a bank account, and finding an accountant.

For now, contracts will be extended for January to ensure continuity at a critical time (this is Tech Lead/BAU, Product Lead, Comms, and Community roles).

The team is also preparing a proposal for the medium-term and a longer-term ambition which we’ll put out for discussion in early January.

We are striving to work as openly as possible to do this so please keep an eye out for updates and feel free to ask us anything.

You can read more about our cooperative model and our decision to become a cooperative in our previous blog post.