Our Story

Citizen Network was launched in 2016.

Citizen Network is a movement to advance equality and justice around the world.

We started Citizen Network because we need to celebrate human diversity and stand up for human equality. We need to work together and to behave like citizens, reject division and create more inclusive communities that welcome people with all their different gifts.


The idea of Citizen Network was first developed by the Centre for Welfare Reform in 2015 in Sheffield, England. At the Claiming Full Citizenship: Self Determination, Personalization and Individualized Funding 2015 International Conference in Vancouver, Canada which was hosted by what is now the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship these initial ideas turned into a commitment to create an active network to support learning and and cooperative action on equal citizenship.

Planning for Citizen Network continued in partnership with people and organisations in Finland and Australia then on 17th November 2016, Citizen Network was officially launched at the Manawanui International Conference in Auckland, New Zealand.

We encouraged people and individuals to join the network for free and we worked with organisations around the world to support people to take on coordination roles in order to advance Citizen Network's work. There are currently over 800 individual members and over 200 group members.

Early support came from: 

Synerga | Avivo | Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship | CCS Disability Action | Centre for Welfare Reform | Choice Support | Community Connections | DD Network | Federation of Disability Resource Centers | ILS | Imagine Better | Inclusion North | In Control Scotland | Life Unlimited | Manavodaya | Manawanui | My Place | Puzzle | Quip | Ripple Trust | VID University | Western Australia Individualised Services (WAIS)

In 2019 at Citizen Network's first CitizenFest, in Glasgow, Scotland leaders of the movement agreed that the next stage for Citizen Network required an official organisational form to support its development. After discussions with experts in the cooperative movement it was agreed to establish Citizen Network Osk as a non-profit global cooperative, registered in Helsinki, Finland.

Citizen Network Osk was officially registered as a coop on 26th October 2020. In 2021 it was agreed that the Centre for Welfare Reform would change its name to Citizen Network Research and continue to manage the website for Citizen Network. The new website, rebranded with the support of the graphic designer, Klaus Welp, was launched at the beginning of 2022.

Citizen Network is free for people and groups to join. We are also recruiting individuals and organisations to be members of Citizen Network Osk.

Sharing ideas

Citizen Network has an online library to support a radical vision of social justice with: 1,400 articles, 6,000 visitors per month, over 2,200 subscribers to its monthly research bulletin and a strong social media presence. it has published 6 books and over 100 major reports, including:

A Fair Start (2010) Personalisation in Mental Health (2010) Personalised Transition (2010) Positively Local(2011) Women at the Centre (2011) Dying with Dignity (2011) Peer Power (2012) Local Area Coordination(2013) Whose Community Is It Anyway? (2013) No Going Back (2013) The Unmaking of Man (2013) Counting the Cuts (2014) Who Cares? (2015) Citizenship and the Welfare State (2016) Love and Welfare (2016) Heading Upstream (2017) Cumulative Impact Assessment (2018) UBI and Health (2018) Second Class Citizens (2019) Know Your Place (2019) Stories of Our Lives (2019) Basic Income Plus (2020) Closer to Home (2020) Energy Impairment and Disability Inclusion (2020) Power and Connection (2021)

Supporting change

Members of Citizen Network lead national and global work on a range of social innovations:

Basic Income | Community Social Work | Constitutional Reform | Deinstitutionalisation | Family Leadership | Inclusive Education | Individual Service Funds | Local Area Coordination | Neighbourhood Democracy | 
Peer Support | People Based Development | Personalised Support | Person Centred Planning | Quality Checking | Self Advocacy | Self Directed Support | Support Brokerage | Supported Employment | Women-Centred Work

New organisations

Citizen Network has inspired or supported the creation a range of new organisations including:

The Hub Yeovil (2010) People Focused Group Doncaster (2011) Campaign for a Fair Society (2011) iDirect (2014) Learning Disability Alliance (2014) Learning Disability England (2016) 
Chronic Illness Inclusion (2017) UBI Lab Sheffield (2018) We Are One: CitizenFest (2019) 
UBI Lab Disability (2020) Neighbourhood Democracy Movement (2020)

Networks for social change

We are founding members of several networks including: