Right to Cooperate – From Right to Reason


Margot Hermus, Geert Brinkman & Arwin van Buuren




Community-based initiatives provide various services in the area of health and social care and hereby complement the services of the municipality of Rotterdam. As such, they are of great value to the city and the municipality. However, collaboration between the initiatives and the municipality is not always as fruitful as they would want. In order to enhance collaboration, the municipality is designing a new policy instrument: the Right to Cooperate. In an intensive co-design trajectory between civil servants, initiatives and the EGDS it was explored how this Right to Cooperate can take shape. Throughout the trajectory, the EGDS organised and facilitated co-creation sessions, conducted additional research, and tied things together in a concrete design proposal.

Our analysis helped shed light on the following paradox: the differences that make collaboration interesting and necessary also form the biggest barriers to collaboration. Introducing a new instrument that enforces collaboration (the ‘right’ to cooperate) may thus not be sufficient. To truly come to fruitful collaborations, a context that is conducive to collaboration needs to be built. Accordingly, a process model was built that consists of four building blocks: identifying common goals, collaboration in execution, (e)valuating and anchoring lessons. For each building block a concrete intervention was proposed, together forming an integrated whole that helps the municipality and initiatives to build a conducive context for collaboration together.