Coventry Time Bank
All the Worlds a stage, and we are all
The World as we know it is about to become a very different place
The next step in our collective development as a species
The missing link in our sociological evolution to enlightenment, Peace and prosperity is through the use of
Timebanking is not volunteering, it is an exchange of time, one hour of your labour for one hour of someone else's. There is no cost in joining a time bank, you simply register your details and skill's with the time bank broker (who matches need, to availability) plus two references, and there you go. Timebanking time exchange does not affect any unemployment benefit, as the units used are of time and not money. A crying shame of our times is the waste of manpower that is available but unused, let change all that. Get in touch today at through feedback page.
Thank you to all those who gave their time, enthusiasm and brainpower to TBUK over a long
period of consultation. This strategy has been created from the thoughts, concerns and ideas
that you generated, and the desired outcomes will be co-produced with you.
Special mention must go to Edgar Cahn, the founder of time banking, who has been a constant
source of advice and guidance. Much of the thinking is based on his seminal work “No More
Throw-Away People – The Co-Production Imperative.”
1.0 Introduction 4
2.0 Executive summary 6
3.0 Part ONE: Context 8
3.1 The current model: the market economy and money define the
limits of what is possible 9
3.2 Co-production: a new model for business and services 11
3.3 Time banks: quantitative easing for the non-market economy 12
3.4 Market analysis 14
4.0 Part TWO: Our vision for time banking 16
4.1 A connected social market place 17
5.0 Part THREE: A strategy for TBUK 22
5.1 Time Banking UK: vision statement, mission and objectives 23
5.2 A learning organisation 25
5.3 TBUK’s ‘line of sight’ 26
5.4 Delivery plans 27
6.0 Part FOUR: An organisation fit to deliver 35
6.1 Current progress 36
6.2 Year 1-3 priorities 38
7.0 Summary 39
8.0 Next steps 40
Annex A IT screen grabs 41
Annex B Summary of consultation responses 46
Time banking is witnessing extraordinary growth. Spread to over 40 nations and 6 continents, there is now over 20,000 people time
banking in the UK alone who have generated over 1.3 million hours of support for each other. There are new time banks being set up
every week. With the twin drivers of the public deficit crisis and the Coalition Government’s commitment to hand more power and
responsibility to local communities and individuals, the political climate could not be more supportive of time banking. Time Banking
UK (TBUK) is changing to reflect this new context. We have listened to our members over the past four months, and reflected on
what has been learnt over the past decade from those that have pioneered time banking and established it firmly in our political
vocabulary. Our members have voiced some strong messages:
1. Time banking is a tool or mechanism for achieving an astonishing range of outcomes and objectives, across different sectors
and services. Applications of time banking are extraordinarily diverse, from using them as a short-term tool to organise PTA
meetings to building networks of social care micro-providers. With new ideas emerging constantly, there can be no
prescription for how and why they should be used.
2. Despite this diversity, time banks are all characterised by an adherence to the core values of co-production as outlined by
a. an asset perspective: seeing the assets in people and enlisting those assets in meaningful transactions
b. redefining work: to capture and reward the activity that we actually need, day-to-day, as a society
c. reciprocity: acknowledging that we need each other
d. social capital: networks of civic engagement strengthen trust and build social capital.
e. respect: by valuing the opinions of all, we can build stronger feedback loops
Together these values come together as a way of saying: people can
3. Regardless of the application of time banking, without clear purpose time banks struggle for sustainability. Time banks are a
mechanism for organising and achieving different outcomes – they are not an outcome in their own right.
This business plan demonstrates how TBUK, as the national umbrella organisation for time banks, can bring time banking to scale. It
shows how TBUK is best placed to create a landscape – a new operating system - upon which the many hundreds of different time
banks that exist can flourish together, as part of a bigger picture and story. Our aim is to bring coherence and purpose to this
movement by co-producing with our members to demonstrate that time banks are a tool for system change. Time banks together, in
their many different applications, can bring about a new equitable way of doing business, where services are there for people, where
opportunity is equal and where access to resources breeds a new age of entrepreneurialism.
This business plan is in four sections:
Part one, from page 8, examines the context for time banking today exploring the current model of public
service delivery, how co-production can unleash productive capacity, the role time banks can play in this
and how this all fits in with the Coalition Government’s agenda.
Part two, from page 16, explores in greater depth the role of time banking, and our vision for how time
banks of different shape, size and function can come together to form a connected market place. This
section also explores the relationship time banks have with the monetary economy
Part three, from page 22, looks in detail at the vision, mission and objectives for TBUK. It is followed with
detailed delivery plans for our five strategic priorities, demonstrating that TBUK can become financially
sustainable within three years.
Part four, from page 40, looks at the progress we have made to date in transforming TBUK to reflect our
new context, and how we need to be structured going forward to achieve our vision.
2.0. Executive Summary
i. The market economy, driven by money, limits the range of possible responses to social problems. We define problems by ‘need’
and solutions by what can be purchased by money. Our responses are therefore specialised and siloed as a result. We overlook
the productive capacity of the non-market economy, and the important contribution it makes towards building better outcomes.
ii. We believe the non-market economy – family, networks of trust and community – is the core operating system upon which the
market economy functions. It represents the glue that knits society together. This core economy is no longer functioning
iii. Co-production is a way of elevating the status of the non-market, ‘core,’ economy to that of equal partner with the market
economy. Time banks are a way of reinvigorating the core economy, providing it with a means for equitable, reciprocal exchanges
that are unbounded and build social capital, helping it to function effectively.
iv. Time banks can be used in a range of ways, including:
- as a tool for communities to organise activity, such as a babysitting circle or a neighbourhood watch scheme
- within organisations to structure the co-production of services and outcomes
- between organisations sharing under-utilised resources.
v. We believe that when these different applications come together, to build thriving, equitable, connected but unbounded social
marketplaces the real productive capacity of the non-market world can be harnessed to achieve better outcomes.
vi. We believe the social wealth generated by non-market ‘core’ economy must be recognised financially. Without such a settlement,
this contribution represents sweat equity. Time banks should be funded as legitimate contributors of social wealth, and
commissioners, providers and users of services should have equitable stakes in the ownership of co-produced services.
vii. Building on our current platform of over 20,000 members TBUK will bring about our vision of a thriving, equitable and boundless
social marketplace by:
Building the appetite and understanding for time banking, by:
1) facilitating industry training and development solutions
in time banking and co-production
2) conducting thematic research into new applications
and implications of time banking and co-production
Supporting time banks to develop as effective value
1) growing and supporting a thriving membership of
2) equipping the time banking profession
3) investing in platforms for connected time banking
viii. Critical to achieving our aims will be a sustained and reciprocal relationship with member time banks. Member time banks are the
source of practical grass roots credibility upon which TBUK can underpin its objectives. TBUK is committed to co-producing its
work with member time banks.
ix. Our delivery plans outline how TBUK can become fully financially sustainable by 2013.
x. To date we have made significant progress towards achieving our aims, building partnerships with key infrastructure
organisations, developing the membership package and restructuring the organisation so it is fit to deliver in this new context.
3.1. The current model: the market economy and money define the limits of what is possible
There exists a profound disparity between what could be, and what is. That disparity translates into unmet need on a scale that
seems incomprehensible given the awesome productive capacity of the economy. And it translates into grave social problems:
homelessness, substance abuse, crime, illiteracy. To counter, government intervenes when market mechanisms have failed to meet
certain needs and contributed to social problems in this way. By leveraging finance through taxation, government pays for the
organisation of services that are designed to meet those needs. Professionals identify, codify and put a price on those needs, make a
case for resources to be allocated accordingly for the solution, look to get the solutions purchased by a third party (the
commissioner), then look back at the client group to sell, cajole and persuade them to consume.
By operating in this way the government is failing to value the productive capacity of the non-market world which is hugely important
– both as the source and solution of many social problems. It defines the customer purely by the value of their need, and the solution
simply by what money can buy and organise. In both cases there is more – there is more to a customer than the need they have, and
there is more to the solution than simply that which money can buy. We needlessly limit our realm of what is possible by monetising
services and support in this way. Inevitably this means services are siloed, operate under strict rules of financial accountability, are
specialised, and look to define their client group solely by a categorisation of what they are perceived to need. This represents a cul-
de-sac of spending as there can only ever be a limit to the social return on investment – the system aims to fix, rather than invest. The
world of non-markets assets and capabilities that lies beyond the realm of transactional services continues to be ignored. Market
failure is in fact perpetuated.
Value is defined from the top-down
Linear and transactional approaches have well understood effects:
. Users need to ‘prove’ that they are eligible to receive a service or state
support, a process of self-definition that can lead to self-belief and
. The system places value on a ‘need’. If the only thing that is valued in people
is their problem, their very treatment can make them feel subordinate, and
sometimes useless. The significant resource that goes into ‘repairing’ needs
therefore is often far from a sound investment.
. We patch people up, and then throw them away, ignoring the realm beyond
problem/need and solution.
. Professionals have little choice, given their ownership of the problem, but to
commandeer further resources dedicated to finding another solution.
The non-market or ‘core’ economy is, in fact, far more efficient than the market economy in doing certain things, among them raising
children, taking care of the elderly, creating community, nurturing and maintaining civil society. That economy functions in ways that
fundamentally differ from the market economy. “It differs in mode of production: in lieu of specialization, it relies upon maximising
self-sufficiency. If differs in mode of distribution: in lieu of price as a mechanism to determine who gets what, it uses normative
considerations like need, contribution and moral obligation. It differs in the form of compensation: in lieu of money, it relies on
various forms of psychological rewards – pleasure, pain, praise, altruism, guilt, self-esteem, obligation, duty, loyalty, reputation, trust,
mutuality and commitment.”1
1 Edgar Cahn, No More Throw Away People, 2nd edition, p42.
Instead of looking to the non-market world for answers, we use a tool to fix the problem – money garnered through taxation – that
can never value certain abundant non-market activities. Money supplies the lens through which we compute gaps between supply
and demand. Consequently certain activities can never really be valued, monetarily, unless they become scarce: learning, imparting
values, sharing, neighbouring, child rearing and other traditionally non-market activities. “Money devalues the very things we need
most in order to fix some of our most critical problems. Money defines the limits of what we can possibly achieve. We become
constrained by what money can buy.
3.2. Co-production: a new model for business and services
The market is only one of two separate economic systems. At present the market economy views the non-market primarily as a
present or potential consumer of its goods and services. It does not regard anyone outside the formal labour market as a producer,
despite the fact that various economists have estimated that at least 40% of all economic activity takes place outside the market
economy.2 The productive contribution of this world is not included in any economists’ measurements of GDP. The basic unit of this
second economy – the non-market – is the household, but it also includes a vast array of exchange networks including friendship,
neighbourhood and community. It is here where most social problems originate, and it is here where most of them can be solved.
2 Edgar Cahn, No More Throw Away People, 2nd edition, p49.
TBUK believes that it is the productive capacity of this non-market economy that is the essential operating system or platform upon
which society is built. It is the trust, reciprocity and civic engagement in these networks that glue a society together. We need a larger
framework than that supplied by the market and money if we really want to build a better society. It is by investing in the non-market
world that we can spur a more rounded notion of growth.
Co-production stands for acknowledging the true significance of the non-market ‘core’ economy, and elevating its status in a way that
enables contributors in both economies to claim their due. If we want to make a difference, the place to begin is by enhancing the
capacity of the non-market economy to enlist untapped resources, regain lost territory, enter into joint ventures with market
specialists, and compete more effectively for the energy, talents and commitment of people.
For example, by enlisting our clients as genuine partners, as co-producers rather than subordinate subjects, we immediately define
them not purely by perceived ‘needs’ but also by the assets they have – by what they can give back. Better health, wellbeing and
justice cannot be achieved without enlisting the productive capacity of non-market actors and elevating its status. By doing so we
instantly open up the realm of what can be achieved. We don’t just work to solve ‘problems,’ through unilateral transactions and a
A thriving social
passive consumer at the bottom of the chain. Instead we utilise non-market ‘assets’ and unleash an enormous pool of (to this point
thrown-away) resources. We turn spending on social programmes into an investment rather than a sticking plaster solution that
actually accrues no return. We stop the reach of services being restricted by the amount of money that goes into them. We direct the
resource going into them towards creating healthy and vibrant communities, rather than a range of products aimed at meeting
unclaimed needs. Put simply, we flip them inside out, mainstreaming the service itself rather than the client groups
Turning public spending into an investment
Coproduction enlists the non-market in a way that allows contributors in both
the market and non-market economies to claim their due
Social programmes are refashioned so that they are investments in non-
market that will generate social capital
Social capital generated
through time banks
3.3. Time banks: quantitative easing for the non-market economy
Time banks are mechanisms for structuring and providing a form of liquidity to the exchange of the assets that we all have that exist
outside of the formal market world. Through a non-financial market, where an hour of your time is equal to an hour of anyone else’s
time, we bring into play the exchange of skills, time, friendship and other traditionally non-market activities. Every act leaves a
footprint, a recorded transaction that generates social capital. This opens up a marketplace of services that isn’t defined by what can
be purchased by money, and by operating on an hour for an hour principle there is an equality of opportunity that runs throughout
which offsets some of the social costs of money.
Time banks can be used:
. at community level as tool for people to organise themselves around a particular issue or project in a system that is equitable,
has reciprocity at its heart, and generates recorded transactions. For example this might be a group of local residents running
a neighbourhood watch scheme using a time bank to organise and reward input by individuals.
. by organisations to organise the co-production of their own service outcomes. For example a housing association enlisting
residents as partners in the running and maintenance of an estate.
. by organisations working together as a tool for sharing under-utilised resources. For example, a local University opening up
access to unused lecture theatres through a time bank, or another organisation buying the use of a minibus through time
In all cases, they immediately enlist participants as value-creating partners, defining them by what they can give back, not just by
what they need, building their sense of self-worth in the process. The range of services, skills and acts that can be exchanged is
unbounded, not restricted by what money can buy. In short, time banks enhance the capacity of the non-market economy to enlist
untapped resources. Time banks provide ‘quantitative easing’ for non-market activities.
We believe this to be important because the operating system at the moment is no longer reliably performing basic functions, such as
transmitting values, raising children, providing support, maintaining safety, generating consensus, and sharing limited resource. In the
past community performed those functions well, but it did so in a different age, relying on the geographical connectedness and
proximity of communities, the fact that women were subordinated and expected to stay at home and look after children, and the
dominant role that local industry played in generating social networks. Multi-culturalism, employment equality, globalisation, greater
mobility and online connection have all presented challenges to the make-up of traditional ‘communities.’ Time banks can provide
the social quantitative easing needed to provide liquidity for a different kind of transferable support people need today, in a different
age where communities are inevitably more transient.
3.4. Market analysis
Through the Coalition Government’s Big Society agenda, politicians have recognised the important role the non-market economy can
play in solving social problems, and the unsustainable expense of maintaining public services that create dependency and switch off
our instincts for social responsibility. The government is committed to putting people at the heart of public services, removing
barriers that have historically served to disempower individuals and communities, marginalising them from the process and
responsibility of building a better future. They are determined to break the cycle of dependency on large and siloed services that is
proving so costly. By handing more power to individuals and communities, it is hoped that people can come together more effectively
on the ground to solve local problems, rather than operating through large state machinery.
There are three key parts to the Big Society agenda:
. Community empowerment: giving local councils and neighbourhoods more power to take decisions and shape their area.
. Social action: encouraging and enabling people to play a more active part in society.
. Opening up public services: enabling charities, social enterprises, private companies and employee-owned co-operatives to
compete to offer people high quality services.
Despite the significant resource being targeted at all three of these strands, they all still risk overlooking the transformative impact
that the non-market economy can have. Central to any notion of community empowerment or social action are networks of trusting
relationships within communities. One cannot create trust unless actions leave footprints. The time bank system records actions in
ways that leave footprints – so that people have to live with the consequences of doing the right or wrong thing. Time banks in that
sense are a mechanism for hard-wiring relationships and social networks within communities, both of which are an essential platform
for social responsibility and empowerment. The range of what communities can achieve together is limited if the non-market value
that exists within them all – the social capital – is not explicitly valued. Valuing the assets that all of us have, and enshrining them in a
system of reciprocal exchange in this way expands the range of the possible for social progress.
Likewise opening up public services to a multitude of providers and social enterprises, through the prism of an open market
mechanism, risks limiting the contribution that can be made by this group. The Government’s Social Investment strategy, for
example, outlines the intention to catalyse effective social action and innovative solutions to social problems by making it easier for
social enterprises and small-scale, local providers to access capital, pledging many hundreds of millions of pounds in support. Whilst
such a move is no doubt welcome, there is a risk that in the competitive pursuit of finance, our ability to come together, share
learning and resources might get underplayed. The productive and innovative capacity of social enterprise should not be defined
purely by money, or else those individuals and organisations most capable of winning funding applications will dominate. In essence
the market is not being opened up as much as it might be. Social investment can be achieved through more than simple finance.
In short, at the heart of the government’s Big Society agenda may be a failure to enlist the full range of productive capacity needed to
build a society more trusting and socially responsible, capable of solving its own problems more effectively. The Government may not
be able to activate system change without fundamentally changing what we constitute as valuable through the market prism. Co-
production offers a more radical vision for building a Big Society.
Our vision for time banking
Greater social value
4.1. A connected social marketplace
We believe time banking to be a tool for reinvigorating the operating system of society – the non-market economy. Time banks stand
for a different set of values that challenge the defacto monopoly that money and price currently exercise both in defining what is
valuable and what is not valuable -- and in defining the range of the possible (which currently is set by whether one has money or
whether one has a grant or contract). Time banks expand the range of the possible for social progress - beyond what money alone
permits. If we start with the assumption that people ‘can,’ and enlist our traditional client groups as partners, we can open up the
current cul-de-sac of government spending and action and unlock an abundant and hitherto thrown away resource and source of
A multiplier effect on public spending
By enlisting our customers as co-producers we are investing in their
human capacity to generate social wealth. In so doing we can
unblock the cul-de-sac of public spending, and ensure value from
spending reaches the places where it is needed most.
Providing liquidity to the social economy generates:
. Wider social networks – more people involved in the
conversation. Time banks value the contribution of all.
. Equitable access to support networks, services, resources and
skills through the principle of an hour for an hour.
. Boundless networks that generate social capital through
reciprocal relationships – investing in social capital is investing in
. Significant cost savings through prevention and less dependency
on specialised services
We can unblock
the cul-de-sac of
Time banks can bring about a thriving, equitable non-market economy that can generate significant social returns on investment. The
case still needs to be made but we believe by adding liquidity to the building of reciprocal networks of support, time banks provide
the connective currency that can bridge the gap between the market & non-market economies, linking informal networks of support
with essential acute services to bring about better outcomes.
Public services are
flipped inside out,
so that they invest
in the productive
capacity of the
exist around them.
A connected social marketplace
Time banks can be used to reinvigorate the non-
market economy in three core ways:
1. As a tool for public service organisations to
organise the co-production of their services
and outcomes – such as a mental health centre
enlisting its service users to run activities at
2. As a tool for communities to organise
themselves around certain issues – such as
running a PTA or neighbourhood watch
3. As a tool for organisations to share under-
utilised resources in a time banked
All groups have
access to a pool of
Communities provide the informal networks of
support that public services can draw upon to
achieve greater return on investment, and a
new cadre of social innovators primed to make
better use of available resource
We believe that it is when these different applications of time banking come together that the true productive capacity of the non-
market economy can be utilised most effectively, and the non-market elevated to a status befitting the social wealth it creates.
For example, if public service organisations use time banks to co-produce the delivery of their actual defined services they build the
sense of worth felt by traditionally pacified service users. But just as importantly, by introducing time credits as a recognised
currency, they immediately become connected to the value that lies within other time banks. Services become flipped inside-out so
that they are not defined solely by their specialism but actually thrive as part of a connected and user-led network of support. By
using services to weave community relationships and build social networks, we are building a platform upon which person-person
support, outside of the formal channels of public services, can be sustainably achieved. By building an organisation to organisation
time bank for the sharing of under-utilised resources, such as minibuses, meeting rooms or even volunteer support, all other
members of time banks – from those within public service organisations to those organised independently by community groups –
suddenly have equitable access to a wealth of resources they might traditionally have been excluded from accessing.
Flipping services inside out in this way starts the process of
mainstreaming the service provided, rather than trying to
mainstream particular users. It makes truly open public services.
drawing upon the
provided by time banks
At the bottom of this network of time banks is a platform
for organisations to trade resource through time
exchanges. This generates access to a pool of resources
from across the private, public and community sectors,
from which time banking organisations can draw,
opening up opportunities for social entrepreneurialism.
Organisations sharing resources through time
A thriving social marketplace will:
. Mainstream services, not people - an end to silos as services become connected by a non-financial currency of exchange
. Build trust essential for a people-powered Big Society agenda
. Build social capital & networks, which is an investment in the future and a prevention agenda
. Provide equitable access to a pool of previously under-utilised resources, giving a platform for entrepreneurialism.
Relationship with the market world
The relationship with the market world is fundamental for achieving genuine system change. Time banks should not be seen as a
means of creating a second class economy, for those who do not have the means to participate in the market economy. Instead they
are a tool for affirming the value of traditionally non-market activities, and demonstrating that they are important in building better
communities, which in turn reduces the drain on public services. Time banks therefore generate social capital that is essential for
building better outcomes.
By generating social wealth like this, we believe time banks and their members should get some equitable return from the market
world of money. That plays out in different ways:
1. firstly, the formal heath care, public safety, community development or other system utilising co-production via time
banks should cover the cost of the infrastructure for a time bank, as an integral part of its cost of doing business.
Otherwise both public and NGOs are free riders, with much of the work that needs to be done for them to succeed coming
from the sweat equity contribution of the community;
2. secondly, individual time bank members have access to goods or services, education or entertainment, trips or equipment
on a discounted or no-cost basis by virtue of having contributed to a “civic GDP”. The organisation-organisation trading
platform provides this. If one wanted to buy a cinema tickets it might cost £10. By contributing three hours to a recognised
and structured measure of Civic GDP, in the form of a public service time bank, the cost of the cinema ticket is saved,
recognising the contribution that has been made.
Taken further, if commissioners of services are rewarded for achieving better outcomes, the creation of which time banks have
played an integral part, that wealth generation should be shared. Models of co-production should ultimately therefore involve
Greater social value
commissioners, providers and users of services as mutual owners, so that no one group stands to profit from the sweat equity of
others – the constituent group has the right for their contribution to be valued.
. To maximise the benefits from the alchemy created from the market economy
working in tandem with the core economy we need a new way of doing
business. The old method consists of entrenched behaviours and unnecessarily
competitive processes that lead to inefficiency and systems wastage.
. A new way of doing business would involve transparency of dealings and a
stakeholder behaviour that can only be achieved when there is equality amongst
the constituent partners.
. Co-production requires a new type of ‘labour.’ This labour requires an ownership
stake if co-producers are to engage on equal terms.
£ £ £ £ £ £ £
A strategy for TBUK
V i s i o n
5.1. Time Banking UK: vision statement, mission and objectives
Our vision is of a world with a thriving, interconnected and boundless social marketplace. Communities no longer
have ‘throw-away’ people, only assets. The contribution of all is valued. People value those that need help, but do
not profit from their troubles. Business and services are open to all. Entrepreneurialism thrives as people have
equitable access to a wealth of resource from across the private, public and community sectors. The social
marketplace is dynamic, and is there to work for people.
Because TBUK sees time banks as the key mechanism of bringing about systems change of this scale, our mission is therefore to bring
about an environment in which time banking can flourish, with twin strategic objectives underpinning it: one operationally focused
and one based around research and learning:
1) To support time banks to develop as effective value contributors
Central to achieving our mission will be the development of a range of time banks across the UK – in public services, at community
level, and between organisations. The greater the number of time banks, the more transferable the currency becomes and the more
sustainable time banking can become. TBUK will therefore work to build this infrastructure of time banking. TBUK will:
. Grow and support a thriving membership of time banks – by seeding new time banks in public sector organisations, at
community level, and between organisations sharing resources. We will support them as TBUK members by brokering local
connections, sharing best practice and guidance, and developing standards around evaluation and monitoring.
. Equip the profession of time banking – by ensuring there is workforce that is equipped to run time banks effectively in their
various different settings, and understands the implications of co-production.
. Invest in platforms for connected time banking – by working with partners to develop an appropriate online platform suitable
for handling transactions between time banks at whole-place level. Developing online toolkits to enable community groups to
use time banks as a tool for social action.
2) To build the appetite and understanding for time banking
Alongside our aim of building the infrastructure around time banking is an equally important strand that focuses on building the
appetite and understanding about time banking and co-production at a strategic level. A system change agenda is supported by the
recognition that those in the field that are trying to work in new ways are working counter to some of the structures in place. This
objective therefore represents TBUK’s efforts to examine the barriers that exist to working in new ways, ensuring commissioners and
place-shaping bodies understand the full implications of co-production and time banking, and facilitating the on the job learning that
needs to happen to demonstrate: people can. TBUK will:
. Facilitate industry training and development solutions in time banking and co-production – working with place shaping and
local strategic bodies – such as local authorities – we will co-design and co-produce a range of training solutions to grow a
practical understanding of time banking.
. Conduct thematic research into new applications and implications of time banking and co-production – working with
partners we will explore barriers to working in new ways, evaluate the impact of time banking, and research new applications
of time banking, disseminating findings through publications and active social media campaigns.
of time banking
5.2. A learning organisation
Critical to TBUK’s position in advancing this agenda will be our ability to reinvest the learning generated by the grass-roots innovation
of our members in the cause we represent. As the umbrella organisation for time banks, TBUK’s credibility to pursue a system-wide
agenda only comes from the expertise that exists on the ground in time banks. TBUK must harvest this learning to build a compelling
case for system change and subsequently bring about an environment more hospitable to its members.
thinking to shape
debate, and build
appetite for co-
Develop and support
effective member time
TBUK must realise the
value of the
opportunity that sits
within its member time
banks and reinvest it in
the cause it represents
In that sense our two strategic objectives are interlinked – the practical on the ground wisdom of time banks that we support through
objective one is the fuel that supports the learning, development and research workstreams of objective two. Likewise, the more our
understanding of time banking grows through learning, development and research, the more we can provide evidence-based support
to member time banks. A co-production ethos runs at the heart of this – TBUK must co-produce its desired outcomes with its
5.3. TBUK’s ‘line of sight’
Our vision is of a world with a thriving, interconnected and boundless social marketplace.
Communities no longer have ‘throw-away’ people, only assets. The contribution of all is
valued. People value those that need help, but do not profit from their troubles. Business and
services are open to all. Entrepreneurialism thrives as people have equitable access to a
wealth of resource from across the private, public and community sectors. The social market
place is dynamic, and is there to work for people.
Mission: to bring about an environment in which time banking can flourish
1) To build the appetite and
understanding for time banking
2) To support time banks to develop
as effective value contributors
. Industry training
. development solutions in
time banking and co-
. Conduct thematic research
into new applications and
. Grow and support a
thriving membership of
. Equip the time banking
. Invest in new platforms
for connected time
Reinvesting the learning
in the cause we represent
5.4. Delivery plans
a) Growing and supporting a thriving membership of time banks
Growing and supporting the membership represents the top immediate priority for TBUK. The grass roots innovation, expertise and
effectiveness of member time banks provides TBUK with the evidence needed and legitimacy required to push a national scale
agenda around time banking and co-production. It is therefore essential that TBUK invests in supporting its existing members,
ensuring their time banks can be as effective as possible in bringing about a system change agenda.
Underpinning this is of course our aim to see as many time banks as possible develop and flourish as part of connected regional social
marketplaces. TBUK will therefore work to grow the membership by:
. Working alongside major public service organisations to seed time banks into their mainstream service delivery,
ensuring their services are co-produced.
. Working with civic infrastructure organisations to ensure member-member time banks are hosted sustainably
. Working with community organisations to ensure that time banking becomes an easy to use tool for communities and
groups to mobilise and organise themselves along lines of equality and social justice.
These different applications of time banking become stronger when they are linked together, as part of connected regional
marketplaces. TBUK will therefore facilitate the building of regional networks/hubs of time banks, so that the sharing of local
expertise, best practice and capacity amongst regional members is part of the membership package.
. A series of thriving regional networks of member time banks, sharing best practice, training, capacity and advice
. A clear and structured offer for new members, with clear guidance on how to set time banks up and how they can be used in
. A clear value proposition for joining TBUK
. A growing membership of time banks, providing TBUK with a source of sustainable income
Develop the membership package to include:
1. An online community of practice to house a bank of best practice, guidance and case studies, and basic social
2. Structured consultancy, training and support at four levels:
. training, guidance and toolkits for setting up time banks and their different applications
. specialist expertise e.g. fundraising, marketing, insurance
. thematic areas e.g. Young People, Criminal Justice, social care etc
. facilitation support for building regional hubs and networks of time banks
3. A Quality scheme and the opportunity to achieve accreditation
4. Connections – brokered relationships between time banks that share particular interests or audiences, and with
funders, commissioners and providers
5. Events – occasional learning and social events for the practitioner community to exchange ideas and experience, and
build a shared sense of identity
6. Develop a customisable WordPress website theme for use by start-up timebanks.
Build regional networks of time banks:
7. Build partnerships with local networks in Scotland, N.I., and Wales
8. Identify regional champions in London, SE, WE, The Midlands, NE & NW
9. Work alongside major public service organisations to seed time banks into their mainstream delivery
10. Work with civic infrastructure organisations to ensure member-member time banks are hosted sustainably
b) Equipping the profession of time banking
Growing and supporting a thriving membership of time banks
We expect the number of time banks to grow dramatically over the next three years. In order to ensure that this period of growth is
sustainable, it is essential that there exists a critical mass of people who are trained in time banking and understand what co-
production means in practice.
For the past three years, The Holy Cross Centre Trust (HCCT) has been piloting City and Guilds accredited training, delivered through a
time bank. Building on the learning from this pilot, TBUK will use a similar method to deliver training in co-production and time
banking, using its network of member organisations as work placement opportunities – which will in turn provide a much needed
capacity boost to local time banks. Successful qualifications and work placements will provide TBUK and participating member time
banks with a source of shared income.
. Time bank members gain accredited qualifications in time banking and co-production, and help build the capacity of local time
banks to deliver effectively through work placement schemes. Revenue from City & Guilds provides a source of funding for local
. There are a growing number of people who understand the practical implications of time banking and co-production, and put
their skills to use for social good.
1. Co-design curriculum for NVQ in time banking & coproduction with member time bank brokers
2. Identify potential funding streams – e.g. modern apprenticeships, workforce development programmes, social impact bonds
3. Identify work placement opportunities within time banks
4. Pilot City & Guilds training, delivered through time banking
5. Create a culture of co-production by establishing and growing a community of people who are trained in implementing it on
the ground across a range of sectors and organisations
c) Investing in platforms for connected time banking
We believe that whatever form time banks take, whether embedded in a community centre or a housing association, they are more
sustainable when they are connected to a network of other time banks, and in particular, when they have access to a wide range of
resources of the kind that organisations can provide. In practice this could be anything from tickets to a football match to access to a
spare meeting room or the use of a minibus. The greater the pool of resources that is available to people, the greater their scope for
enterprising social initiatives. It is upon this platform of organisations sharing their resources through a time bank that other time
banks in a region, perhaps those integrated into the delivery of service, can draw much needed support. ‘Small’ time banks become
‘big,’ by being part of a wider platform linking resources that are under utilised by the market economy from across the public,
private and community sector. Equitable access through a time bank allows individuals and groups who might traditionally be
excluded to access a pool of resources beyond their traditional reach, using the market in a creative and dynamic manner.
TBUK member time banks can all benefit from a platform for organisational resource sharing being more readily available. However,
most do not have the means or scope to pursue such an ambition. For that reason TBUK, through its existing regional networks of
time banks, will grow a sharing platform in three pilot areas. In practice this means weaving relationships between organisations in
these defined communities, encouraging them to become members of an organisation-organisation time bank, and over time
formalising the exchanging of resource in this way by developing an online platform for safe time banked exchanges between
At the moment TimeOnline is a market leading platform, handling the online exchange of thousands of hours of support every day.
However, it is built for an audience of individuals sharing time and skills, as opposed to organisational members sharing resource in a
time economy. For that reason TBUK will work with TBUSA (who are releasing an open source version of their Community Weaver
software and other organisations in this field to develop an online exchange platform that caters for an audience of organisations as
well as individuals. An effective platform will reduce the transaction costs of exchanges.
However, many time banks have a core client group of vulnerable people. In these instances the role of the broker simply cannot be
replaced by a platform that empowers users to exchange between themselves. For this reason TBUK is developing a standard
WordPress website for time banks that serves to advertise the support being requested and made available for local users. The actual
brokering of specific exchanges remains the role of a broker however.
Additionally, TBUK will invest in online toolkits designed to help community groups use time banks as a tool for organising social
action. In practice this might take the form of running a PTA group through a timebank, or arranging a neighbourhood car pool
project. Time banks in this way are short-term tools used for organisational purposes, and do not necessarily need any degree of
funding for their sustainability.
. Networks of relationships embedded in organisation-organisation time banks in three pilot regions.
. A safe and user-friendly online platform on which businesses and individuals from the public, private and community sectors can
access under-utilised resources in an equitable, reciprocal and dynamic manner.
. A thriving organisational membership of TBUK
. An easy to use downloadable toolkit for organising community action along the equitable lines provided by time banks
. Community groups using time banks as a default means of organising social action
1. Identify and train local partners to deliver and shape the platform for their region
2. Coordinate learning across pilot sits through regular internal learning events
3. Work with TBUSA and other partners in this field to explore suitable IT solution for online time bank exchanges
4. Scope the development on an online toolkit for organising social action through a time bank
5. Develop marketable toolkit for local community groups
d) Facilitating industry training and development solutions in time banking and co-production
Redefining the value relationships that exist between commissioners, providers and users of services to bring about co-production is
a change management process of epic magnitude. For that reason, it is important for TBUK to influence the way in which
professionals and policy officials are trained. TBUK will look to work with existing training organisations to build a comprehensive
understanding of co-production and time banking into the curricula, and build a suite of programmes and events in this field.
Specifically, TBUK should work with training partners and associates to run live learning events that take commissioners and providers
of services out of their traditional roles into live time banking and co-production sites. If time banking is a framework for people who
would not normally meet to come together and learn how to exercise both their powers and responsibilities as caring citizens,
resource should duly be deployed into not only setting up and running the time banks but also learning from the generation of data
critical to documenting and understanding system change. By working with host time bank organisations to design facilitated live
learning visits, TBUK can generate a source of income that can be shared with showcase time banks.
TBUK will also build consensus around a longer term and more formal accredited degree in system change. Based on initial work
piloted by Time Banking founder Professor Edgar Cahn, the degree would be the first of its kind, combining reading and field
exposure with problem solving and peer exchange. Work to date on co-production has highlighted a series of system barriers to the
mainstreaming and spread of co-production approaches in public services. One of these lies with organisational culture and staff
skills, in both commissioning and service delivery organisations. The qualification in system change would be a practical intervention
to address this barrier by:
. creating a culture of co-production and establishing and growing a community of people who are implementing it on the
ground across a range of sectors and organisations
. consolidating the principles and practices of co-production and giving them academic ‘validation’
The advanced degree in system change will be targeted at individuals engaged in efforts to address social issues – a category of
people ranging from frontline practitioners to policy people, commissioners and budget holders across a range of sectors, services
and organisations. Such an offering would address a gap in the market as there is currently no defined space for the development
and transmission of the theory and practice of co-production in relation to system change in public services, and no accredited
training provision, and would provide TBUK, TBUSA and other partners with a sustainable source of income. More importantly, it
would create a stream of credentialed practitioners spreading the word about the work we do, equipped with the tools, normative
framework and peer support needed to expand the impact of time banking innovations.
. Training for commissioners and providers of services demonstrates the value of seeing clients as genuine partners in delivering
. Commissioners, providers and users come together in co-produced learning experiences which build the capacity in all three
constituent groups to see the value in open networks and co-production approaches.
. A masters in systems change is recognised as an essential qualification for those wishing to achieve better social outcomes
1. Identify key training and delivery partners
2. Identify member co-production sites for live learning visits
3. Co-design programme that brings together commissioners, providers and users
4. Coordinate feasibility study for a Masters in Systems Change with University partners
5. Develop specifications for sites and practicums
6. Co-design masters syllabus with partners
e) Conducting thematic research into new applications of time banking and co-production
Despite the enormous growth in time banking over the past ten years and the explosion of interest at present, it remains a relatively
young and unexplored concept. TBUK member time banks are constantly innovating, pushing the understanding of how and where
time banking can be applied. From co-producing adult social care services, through to exploring ownership models where
commissioners, providers and users have an equal stake in co-produced services, there is a vast range of areas ripe for more
Critical to TBUK’s mission will be the ability to explore major thematic and topical research questions around time banking and co-
production, bringing them to a wider audience. Being host to many hundreds of active time banks, TBUK has access to a range of
expert witnesses. With research partners, TBUK can explore live research questions and bring findings to a wider audience through
publications and events.
In the short term, TBUK has identified four priority areas for research:
1. Exploring how member-member time banks can form a major part of adult social care solutions
2. Evaluating the impact of time banking – developing appropriate tools for measuring the contribution towards a civic GDP
3. Exploring how time banks can be sustainable at whole place level
4. Exploring mutual ownership models for time-banks that involve commissioners, providers and users having equitable stakes.
. Evidence about new applications of time banking is widely understood and recognised
. Evidence about the positive impact time banks can have on social outcomes is widely understood and recognised.
1. Develop targeted research with partner organisations around new applications of time banking
2. Work with CES to explore tools for monitoring outcomes in time banks
An organisation fit to deliver
6.1. Current progress
TBUK is well placed to bring this vision of a
thriving, equitable social marketplace to
scale. Within our existing membership of over
20,000 people, there is an enormous range of
different time banking applications in
operation that champion the values and
benefits outlined in our vision.
Time banks exist across the UK in different
regions, hosted by many different kinds of
public and civic institutions. TBUK’s business
plan and strategy represents an attempt to
grow this time banking infrastructure and
supply the framework that knits them
together in sustainable and connected social
Time banks by sector of host
Time banks by Region
To date we have made strong progress in driving forward our strategic priorities. With limited resource, our intention so far has been
to focus on our first priority – growing and supporting a thriving time bank membership.
In addition, to support existing members we have:
. Begun development of a new TBUK website, complete with an online area for member time banks to share best practice and
advice. This is due for completion in September.
. Worked with CES to develop a framework for time banks to use to evaluate outcomes from time banking
. Identified regional champions and begun forming regional networks of time bank members, with M.O.U.’s agreed with
partners in Scotland, Wales and N.I.
. Developed a highly customisable WordPress website for member time banks without existing web presence to use
In our other priority areas, we have made some initial progress:
. We have formalised our partnership with TBUSA, with a commitment to exchange learning and expertise
. We have agreement with Bristol University School of Policy Studies to jointly fund research into the outcomes of time banking
– which will include live research with 8 time banks across the country, with brokers in each time bank being upskilled in
advanced evaluative research methods.
6.2. Year 1-3 priorities
Degree of priority/emphasis
Growing and supporting a thriving
membership of time banks
Investing in platforms for
connected time banking
Equipping the profession of
Conducting thematic research
into new applications of time
banking and co-production
Facilitating industry training &
development solutions in time
banking and co-production
This diagram represents the changing nature of our priorities for the 2011-2013 period. Our initial priority is to grow and support
the membership, whilst developing the ‘Shares’ platform and toolkits for community groups to organise themselves for social
action, using time banks.
Over time, and as our membership base as a source of income grows, our activity will shift to reflect our learning, research and
development priorities. When there is a comprehensive membership base of time banks, there are greater possibilities to
research and explore time banking at whole place level, and the implications for national public services.
Greater social value
Co-production is a way of elevating the status of the non-market economy to recognise the contribution it makes to society. Time
banks are a way of bringing about co-production by providing a mechanism for adding value to equitable, reciprocal transactions that
help weave communities together. TBUK’s vision is of a world where time banks form locally connected marketplaces.
A thriving, equitable, reciprocal
and boundless social marketplace
TBUK’s vision is to bring about connected
social market places. Our activity –
operational and r&d – has ‘line of sight’
back to our vision. To date we have
made significant progress towards
achieving our aims.
Co-production unblocks the cul-de-
sac of public spending, and
unleashes the full productive
capacity of the non-market world
Time banks can be used by public services to
co-produce their services and outcomes,
community groups to organise social action,
and by businesses to exchange under utilised
resources. Together these come together to
form connected social market places.
8.0. Next steps
This business plan represents the culmination of a long period of consultation with TBUK members and reflection on the role and
purpose of the organisation. We believe we have developed a compelling case for system wide change, and shown that TBUK can be
fully financially sustainable within three years.
Our immediate next steps are:
. to build a bank of time banking case studies to support our vision for thriving social marketplaces
. to engage in a further round of consultation and engagement with TBUK members
TWTB screen grab.png
ANNEX A: IT screen grabs
1) Sample word press theme for licensing to new time banks
TWTB second screen grab.png
Community Weaver give & receive page.png
b) Community Weaver
Community Weaver check in request.png
Community Weaver gmail plug-in.png
ANNEX B: Summary of consultation responses
It was generally agreed that the Vision should be reviewed and made shorter, snappier and with a wider, more ‘visionary’ reach. The discussions
on both Vision and Values elicited concerns about language, how to convey new thinking with old words, how to tell it meaningfully and
accessibly. Visual, non-verbal alternatives should be considered – different media for different audiences.
There were also debates about the ‘achievability’ of the Vision – just how aspirational should it be?
Challenging the need for succinctness, groups came with a large number of elements that the Vision should address! In summary:
. Defining equal value – of people, their skills and contribution
. Individual responsibility and self-worth
. Relationships, inter-connection and inclusion
. Social justice
. Stronger, healthier communities
. Mutuality, togetherness and sharing
. National and international reach from local roots
Essentially there was a consensus that the Values are right, in terms of their meaning but, again, language was a barrier. People being described
as ‘assets’, ‘reciprocity’ and ‘social capital’ were not seen as engaging. On the other hand, it was also argued that TBUK should stand by its
language and use it as an opportunity to explain and convert to its mission.
Several groups suggested the addition of ‘Respect’ and also ‘Co-production’. On one hand it was argued that co-production was the core principle
under-pinning TBUK’s purpose and activity – virtually an operating assumption. On the other, it was felt this should be explicit in the Values.
. Still being in existence– survival of the unique attempt at alternative currencies
. Experience and expertise in timebanking
. Staff accessibility, responsiveness and support
. Time Online and IT resources
. Local rural and urban reach
. Documentation – case studies, procedures
. Networking opportunities – national conference,
1.4 AREAS FOR DEVELOPMENT
. Definition of TBUK identity - purpose, role and activities
. Marketing and promotion
. IT development – website and database upgrade, increase the user-friendliness
. Membership package – benefits and structure
. More networking, internal communication and opportunities to share stories and best practice
. History – keeping and using the archive or ‘memory bank’
. Learning from both success and failure
. Internal resourcing
. Learning from other social movements
. Using social media – especially discussion space for members
. Business support
. Strategic alliances
. Internal governance
1.5 THE EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT
. The political positioning of the Big Society and Wellbeing
. Cuts and the opportunity to fill gaps plus the risk of being used as a cheap alternative
. Technological advances, new software and the developing potential of social media, apps
. The interest of government, health authorities, local authorities, NESTA (and potential funding opportunities
. Demographics – an ageing society
. Capitalise on the high profile of ‘volunteering’ in the current political climate by providing our different model
. Capture and/or capitalise on the interest (and funding) of public and private sector organisations e.g. capitalise on outcome-focused
. Understand and use social accounting and SROI techniques
. Strengthen identity and organisational confidence – promote and publicise
. Provide an umbrella under which to develop regional and local networks and strengthen capacity
. Review, evaluate and learn in order to further develop timebanking models
. Forge new strategic alliances and relationships – academia, enterprise boards, co-ops
. Get into education – schools and universities
. Use social media
. International alliances
. Sustainability – lack of resources
. Being ‘hi-jacked’ and losing independence - the Big Society, funder pressure, compromise – mission creep
. Lack of clear focus and identity – taking on too much and/or becoming split into differing factions, overall loss of profile and positioning
. Losing connection with local timebanks and local experience
. Losing momentum in a period of transition
2. KEY ACTIVITIES
This section summarises the afternoon sessions which discussed the activity that TBUK should undertake, and/or the issues it needs to resolve in
this planning process:
2.1 STATUS AND LEADERSHIP
. What sort of organisation – membership or other?
. Governance structure – trustee role, responsibility and accountability
. Membership structure and the ‘membership package’ on offer
. Decision-making and communication process
2.2 SUPPORT AND FACILITATION TO TIMEBANKS
It was suggested in all the meetings that TBUK should provide a national brokerage to local timebanks, with key areas of support being:
. Regional clustering for networking
. IT development – Time Online and website upgrading
. Communications – more face to face sessions, newsletters, a national conference, online discussion groups, use of social media
. Information Hub – best practice models, spreading learning whether from success or failure
. Quality assurance via kite marking, accreditation or certification
. Supporting a network of champions or ambassadors
. Start-up grants (subject to having a significant endowment fund)
2.3 PROFILE AND PROMOTION
Develop a strategy that
. Confirms the TBUK brand – name, logo, vision and values
. Clarifies its positioning
. Strengthens the profile and awareness of timebanking
Developing business models on the basis of evidence-based learning from experience, and demonstrating replicability across sectors
. Understanding the commissioning processes and brokering contracts
. Exploring new opportunities e.g. GP commissioning, schools and community colleges
. Research on what works locally, nationally and internationally
Develop a business strategy that explores the business cases for:
. Training and consultancy
. Membership fees
. Transaction and product charging
. Social franchising
. Alternative and meaningful use of credits
. Fundraising – including for a substantial gift to underwrite an endowment fund
2.6 STRATEGIC ALLIANCES
. Define desired benefits from relationships – who does TBUK need, why, how should the relationship work
. Audit current host organisations and identify learning from those relationships
. Identify potential partners
. Plan a strategy for managing external relationships