When trades begin to expand, some form of organisational infrastructure, and governance, is required to manage and broker them in an equitable, transparent and locally accountable manner. A local ‘delivery organisation’ can enable ongoing decisions over time, manage any tensions, react to new knowledge and changing circumstances and provide support for the supply side. Its exact shape and capabilities will vary in each region according to the stakeholders involved and the needs of the network.
In Cumbria, this organisation is in the process of being set up and will take the form of a Community Interest Company (CIC). It will be led by a small board representing three constituencies: buyers, suppliers, and statutory and local bodies.
Its core executive functions will include convening both the demand and supply sides, facilitating transactions and building the pipeline of trades. Additional functions, depending on the circumstances, could include managing contracts, handling funds, commissioning modelling and verification, and facilitating government grants. Depending on the scale of the transaction network, executive functions will be carried out by dedicated staff, or outsourced to appropriate individuals and organisations by the board.
This organisation will have an explicitly narrow focus on developing and facilitating trades. It does not take on roles such as making plans and strategies for the local area, but remains accountable to these plans through the representation of statutory bodies on its board. It will be independent, locally led, not for profit and low maintenance.