Seminar slides october 2013


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Seminar slides october 2013

  1. 1. Community Engagement in the current climate Steve Skinner LGIU Associate November 13th 2013
  2. 2. Aims • To discuss the Big Society and Localism agendas • To examine examples of different approaches to community engagement from a variety of local authorities in England and Scotland • To compare different engagement approaches and consider their different advantages and disadvantages • To look at the roles councillors can adopt to develop new relationships with communities • To briefly look at community engagement through the use of social media.
  3. 3. Steve Skinner Current work: • LGIU and freelance consultant/trainer/ facilitator/researcher • Author of Strengthening Communities: guidelines on capacity building for communities and the public sector and two other Community Development Foundation publications Former roles: • Director of Community Engagement at the University of Bradford • A Policy Manager in Bradford Council for eight years • Member of a Home Office working group • Regional Manager for the Community Development Foundation
  4. 4. Scope • Focus on roles of Members and officers in neighbourhoods and wards • Stand back/debate • Share your views, ideas and experience • Guest speaker on social media • Activities • Confidential?
  5. 5. Big Society – key concepts 1. Empowering communities: ‘giving local councils and neighbourhoods more power to take decisions and shape their area’. 2. Opening up public services: ‘the Government’s public service reforms will enable charities, social enterprises, private companies and employee-owned cooperatives to compete to offer people high quality services’. 3. Promoting social action: ‘encouraging and enabling people from all walks of life to play a more active part in society, and promoting more volunteering and Philanthropy’. Source: Building a Stronger Civil Society Office for Civil Society 2010
  6. 6. Aim of the Big Society? „The Big Society is about collective action and collective responsibility. We recognise that active local people can be better than state services at finding innovative and more efficient solutions to local problems.‟ CLG 19th Feb 2013
  7. 7. The ladder of participation • Supporting community organisations in self help • Joint action • Joint decision making • Consultation • Informing
  8. 8. Big Society Big Society – examples of programmes: • Community First - £80 million to fund new and existing groups - £30 million for matched funding • Big Society Capital (Bank) • Community Organisers programme
  9. 9. Community First By summer 2013: • 600 local panels set up • £12.5 million distributed • Grants on average £1000 • 2 million hours of volunteer time generated by the scheme • Runs until March 2015 Update available on
  10. 10. Big Society Capital First annual report: • By the end of 2012 they had committed £56 million to 20 intermediary organisations • In the coming year they aim to commit £75-100 million in up to 20 new investments.
  11. 11. Community Organisers • The programme was set up to recruit and train 500 senior Community Organisers, along with a further 4,500 part-time voluntary organisers, over four years. So far: • Approx 350 trained • Paid for 51 weeks • „Hosted‟ by voluntary organisations and community enterprises • No evaluation yet
  12. 12. Community Organisers The role of a Community Organiser is to: • listen to local people • support people to develop their power to act together for the common good • help people take action on the local issues that are important to them The work of the Community Organisers is communityled. This means that priorities are set by local people, not the organiser. The training Community Organisers get gives them the skills they need to do this. From the CLG website
  13. 13. Big Society: Challenges • Content - not clear as a policy what was new about it • Timing - many volunteer support organisations have had reduced funding • Context – perceived as an excuse to reduce public services • Impact - can deprived areas solve their own problems as easily?
  14. 14. Challenges in the current climate • • • • • • No major urban funding programmes Greater reliance on volunteering and self-help Greater use of social media Greater need for integrated services Focus on user empowerment e.g. in ASC Greater need for enterprise/income in the voluntary sector • Others?
  15. 15. Challenges in the current climate Two key drivers: • Reductions in public spending is creating new demands on officers and elected members • Independent of this, a growing consensus on participation and empowerment of communities and service users
  16. 16. New – and old - approaches In the current climate, where can look for ideas/good practice/new ways/old ways of working? • Member led local partnership – Ellesmere Port • Resident led local partnerships – Blackburn and Leeds • Neighbourhood planning involvement – Leeds • Voluntary sector led involvement – Wakefield • Council led partnerships – Tayside, Scotland
  17. 17. Engagement methods: examples • • • • • • • Public meetings Neighbourhood forums Focus groups Surveys e.g. door to door or online Scrutiny Panels Local partnerships Participative budgeting • • • • • • Walk about the area Live phone in on local radio Stalls at festivals World Café technique Use drama and get feedback Wishing wells…
  18. 18. Approaches to engagement Approaches such as: • Use partnerships to improve local services • Develop local initiative and leadership • Build stronger communities
  19. 19. West Cheshire Case Study • Cheshire West and Chester (CWAC) formed 2009 • There are 46 electoral wards across Cheshire West and Chester. • Five wards acted as Test Beds for increased ‘locality working’ January to May 2013
  20. 20. West Cheshire Case Study • Came from the Council’s Altogether Better programme, one of four CLG pilots ‘Whole Place Community Budget programme. • The Test Beds were set up in 2012/3 to build on this experience and to find out: • How can new decision-making bodies at ward levelCommunity Boards - could be set up? • How can they can help to improve local services and strengthen joint working with the community?
  21. 21. Grange Estate • The Grange neighbourhood is a single Member Ward. • Grange is part of Ellesmere Port, an industrial area with a long history as a port. • Grange has 2,100 residential homes; the majority of these dwellings are owned by CW&C.
  22. 22. Grange Estate
  23. 23. Grange Estate
  24. 24. Grange estate • Parts of the area are in the 10% most deprived areas nationally in terms of income. • Low levels of skills and high levels of unemployment. • High concentrations of health deprivation and disability. • Alcohol, drug abuse and crime are common concerns
  25. 25. Aim: To form a Community Board These can be led by Elected Members and involve: • council officers and paid workers from other public and voluntary sector services • local businesses • residents as representatives who can add perspectives from local interests and knowledge of the area.
  26. 26. Building the Community Board • January to March 2013 workshop style meetings held with public services • Invitation for them to help form the Board • Meetings of the Neighbourhood Action Group to develop idea of a community board
  27. 27. Community Boards: Potential roles • Co-ordinate - services and activities in the ward. • Manage money - such as local budgets that pay for public services provided locally. • Build community strengths - help to develop local leadership and community organisation so elected members and communities can take action and contribute to better quality of life in the
  28. 28. Building the Community Board • Stock take of what services are already doing for community engagement • Resources could mean staff time, facilities, funding for community groups, training courses, panels/forums etc
  29. 29. EP Development Board (9 weeks) EP Locality Board (9 weeks) Community Board (18 weeks) Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) (9 weeks) Working Group Working Group Working Group (Employment) (Environment) (Engagement)
  30. 30. GRANGE Community Board Achievements: • Improvements to housing stock • 20 mile zone • Garage sites and gardens improved • Home Watch Group with 30 new members Barriers: • Confidence and experience of NAG members • Is ward level too small?
  31. 31. Activity: You are helping to form a local partnership in an inner city area of three wards to improve the design and co-ordination of services. How could you ensure effective community participation?
  32. 32. Community Engagement in the current climate
  33. 33. Ways to engage the community • Partnerships led by elected member – Grange in West Cheshire • Partnerships led by residents, selected by local Councilor and others - Blackburn • Partnerships led by residents, elected by local people - Leeds
  34. 34. Building a Community Board in Blackburn • Ellesmere Port – a partnership that was set up by the Ward Member inviting managers to form a board to co-ordinate services and then involve the community • Blackburn – a residents led partnership that was set up by the Ward Member (and others) selecting residents onto a board to decide on use of a Big Lottery fund and then involve service managers
  35. 35. Big Local Lottery scheme • 150 areas across England chosen to receive £1 million to spend over ten years • Administered by the Local Trust; must be ‘additional’ to local public service spending. Aim: to support local people to contribute to making the area an even better place to live.
  36. 36. Shadsworth with Whiteberk area in Blackburn • Population 7650 • White with 5% Asian • 37% of working age population claim benefit • Industrial park on edge of the area • More information go to • then Areas
  37. 37. Shadsworth with Whiteberk • Residents led partnership now in place with 14 members • Created through advertising and interviews • Ward Councillor on interview panel • Big Local ‘Board’ now have their Community Plan approved • Task Groups set up for research and delivery
  38. 38. Big Local Leeds • Hawksworth Wood estate - similar area • A interim resident Big Local ‘Working Group’ organised local election to form a Big Local Board • 140 residents voted • 15 residents on the ‘Board’
  39. 39. Big Local areas and councils • Relationships between Big Local and Councils are very mixed. • Some councillors are very active and supportive, some have chosen not to be involved and some turn up occasionally to meetings but do not appear to fully engage with the conversations. • Council workers, such as housing officers or community action officers offer great support to areas and are seen as a great resource by residents, but this does not necessarily improve the relationship with the council that they are representing. Source: Interviews and focus groups with residents and key others involved in a sample of 14 Big Local areas.
  40. 40. Ways to engage the community • Partnerships led by an elected member – Grange in West Cheshire • Partnerships led by residents, selected by local Member and others – Blackburn • Partnerships led by residents, elected by local people - Leeds Discussion: What are the pros and cons of these three different approaches?
  41. 41. Community Engagement in the current climate
  42. 42. The Localism Act • The Right to Bid – is about land and property • The Right to Challenge – is about services
  43. 43. Building the Big Society through the Localism Act Decentralisation – giving away power to individuals, professionals and communities Right to Challenge Right to Bid Neighbourhoo d planning Big Society - people, neighbourhoods and communities have more power and responsibility and use it to create better services and outcomes
  44. 44. Right to Bid
  45. 45. The Right to Bid • The aim is to make it easier for community groups to take over buildings and land. • Already councils can transfer assets to community groups • The Act aims to broaden this to properties that are privately owned and owned by other public bodies
  46. 46. Right to Bid: • 778 attempts to nominate an Asset of Community Value, of which • 558 successfully listed (i.e. accepted as ACVs by the local authority) • Still too early in the process to have much case experience of people going through the full process of purchase. Information from
  47. 47. Right to Challenge: • 29 organisations in the process of Challenging, of which • 22 formally submitted EOIs, of which • 12 have run their full course, of which • 2 were accepted and are going for tender, 9 were rejected, and 1 was withdrawn early by the applicant. Information from See Handout to follow.
  48. 48. Neighbourhood Planning • Gives a new right for communities to draw up a ‘neighbourhood development plan’ • Is a part of the Big Society initiative to make decisions in communities more open
  49. 49. A N. P. can be used to: • Develop a shared vision for your neighbourhood. • Choose where new homes, shops, offices and other development should be built. • Identify and protect important local green spaces. • Influence what new buildings should look like.
  50. 50. Who? Neighbourhood planning will allow people to come together through • a local Parish Council • or what are called 'neighbourhood forums' and say where they think new houses, businesses and shops should go – and what they should look like. • These neighbourhood development plans could be very simple, or go into considerable detail where people want.
  51. 51. Neighbourhood Plans: Update from one agency • 500 areas applied to Planning Aid for support • Most are in the south/south west/home counties • Few in deprived urban areas Information kindly provided by Planning Aid • Several waiting referendum • Several waiting examination • Only one plan adopted
  52. 52. How Members can help: The Eight Steps to producing a N.P. 1. Getting started 2. Identifying the issues 3. Develop a vision and objectives 4. Generate options 5. Draft your Neighbourhood Plan 6. Consultation and submission 7. Independent examination 8. Referendum and adoption
  53. 53. How Members can undermine np • Want to run things in their area • Choose your own leaders • Presentation full of jargon • Top down organising of the process • See neighbourhood forum as a threat – set up parallel group with elected member as chair • Officers defensive • Other ideas?
  54. 54. Holbeck – roles of Members in N.P.
  55. 55. N.P. in Holbeck, Leeds Example that shows a more positive role from Members • Part of four front runners in Leeds • Inner city deprived area in south Leeds • Three wards, area designated • N. Forum yet to be designated • Took 18 months to set up
  56. 56. Roles of Members in N.P. • Background support • Guidelines on how to get area designated • Access to officers „Don‟t suggest too much‟
  57. 57. New roles for Front Line Members? Need for a new emphasis, acting as community leaders, created by, for example: • new opportunities linked to Localism • working more closely in partnerships • building strengths in communities to take initiatives, tackle problems and provide services
  58. 58. The Member as community leader • The LGA has useful guidelines on councillors as community leaders • They identify a number of key roles, developed by LGIU • These could be used to develop your authority’s own version of community leadership for Members
  59. 59. The roles of front line Members as community leaders – a ‘menu’ • Making things happen • Involving communities • Enabling decisionmaking • Building bridges • Developing long term relationships • Building local leadership
  60. 60. Activity Please use the Star Chart on Community Leadership to describe: • Your roles as an officer if you work directly with communities OR • The roles adopted by an Elected Member you know in their ward/area.
  61. 61. Localism and the Six Leadership Roles: Discussion • How can we use the six roles in the context of Localism? • What new challenges will Members face in acting more as community leaders? • How can we develop a more strategic approach to engagement in the current climate?
  62. 62. A strategic approach to Community Engagement in the current climate • From the current opportunities and two main ‘drivers’ there is a need to build stronger communities • Where local groups and active residents can solve problems, provide services and take initiatives to improve community life. • Building stronger communities can be a major focus of the work of Elected Members, using the community leadership set of roles • Needs a wider framework at strategic level
  63. 63. Strategic Guidance for Community Planning Partnerships: Community Learning and Development ‘It is important to be clear about the purpose of CLD. We see it as empowering people, individually and collectively, to make positive changes in their lives and in their communities, through learning.’
  64. 64. Scotland – example of a strategic approach • Dundee, Fife, Perth and Kinross and Angus. • Aim to develop skills in Needs Assessment and Community Engagement. • November 2013 and March 2014 • Training, advice, mentoring, facilitation • Outcome: a strategy in each authority to build stronger communities
  65. 65. The Four Themes for Stronger Communities Building Skills Building Organisations Building Involvement Building Equality
  66. 66. The Four Building Blocks • The four themes originate in a model devised in Scotland by the Scottish Centre for Community Development • Developed in Bradford and published by CDF as Assessing Community Strengths by Mandy Wilson and Steve Skinner • Published in a new handbook Building Stronger Communities 2013 • The four blocks can be used at both practice and policy levels in and with communities • They can also be applied to public sector organisations.
  67. 67. Building Skills Skills is short hand for: • • • • • Skills Knowledge Ways of working Experience Confidence It can partly be about releasing what is already there in communities Forms of learning such as: Training, seminars, conferences Visits, peer learning, action learning Coaching, mentoring Shadowing, placements Resource packs, on line learning
  68. 68. Building Skills with ‘community representatives’ Wakefield • The leadership programme for the Wakefield Assembly ran between October 2012 and March 2013. • It trained 30 people in the art of being a ‘stronger voice’ • To add insights, views, perspectives, local information
  69. 69. Building Skills: Wakefield example • The art of being a community representative • Leadership Skills • Partnership and team working skills • Understanding and facilitating groups • Confidence building • Understanding public services
  70. 70. Building Organisations • Community groups and networks are more than just the individuals that make them up • They also consist of structures, systems, arrangements, traditions, links, policies and practices • Building the organisation itself
  71. 71. Building Organisations Why do groups ask for organisational support? • A crisis e.g. need to diversify/change • Members leaving/unhappy/new people not joining • Growth in numbers/activities • New funding demands/opportunities • Lost direction • Develop a network or partnership
  72. 72. Building Organisations • The partnership in Blackburn – the Members helped to start and develop a new resident led partnership
  73. 73. The Four Key Elements of Building Stronger Communities • So far – skills and organisations • Looks at individual learning and organisational development needs • But BSC is not a ‘technical fix’ to address deficits • It’s also about empowerment, about involvement and about values.
  74. 74. Activity With someone else near you, please talk about: From your personal or work experience, what does empowerment mean to you?
  75. 75. Definitions of empowerment • People having influence - Labour Government 2009 White Paper Communities in Control • Communities running public services -Building a Stronger Civil Society from Office for Civil Society October 2010 • Communities taking action - The Scottish Government defines ‘community empowerment’ as: “A process where people work together to make change happen in their communities by having more power and influence over what matters to them.”
  76. 76. Definitions of empowerment • Critical understanding causes of deprivation and discrimination – Paulo Freire • Psychological experience of confidence and self-esteem – assertiveness training/women’s movement
  77. 77. Building Involvement • This is about activities and change that focus on how people get involved in their communities • It’s also about how groups and networks involve people and contribute to local decision-making
  78. 78. Building Equality • Will building skills, organisations and involvement only strengthen existing powerful groups in the community? • Will groups on the margins be involved? • Will some groups feel more empowered while leaving out others?
  79. 79. Building Equality – three issues to address Building Equality in community groups Equal opportunities Diversity Cohesion
  80. 80. Building Equality Examples: Grants funding for community groups and voluntary sector in Bradford after the riots – criteria included access to different identity groups Neighbourhoods Learning Together North West Birmingham Urban Living Housing Partnership and Fircroft College 2012
  81. 81. Using the four themes Please discuss how you could use the four themes in your work with communities - this can happen at a number of levels, such as: • A: With one community group • B: With a range of community groups in one neighbourhood • C: Across a whole district
  82. 82. Planning at district level using the four building blocks • Bradford Council worked jointly with third sector groups to develop a new strategy for capacity building • A new partnership involved over 200 community groups and many different agencies • Looked at building capacity in both communities and the public sector Building Communities Strategy Bradford
  83. 83. The Four Building Blocks of CCB Building Skills Building Organisations Building Involvement Building Equality
  84. 84. Concluding points • Current practice provides examples of different approaches to engagement • Each approach has different pros and cons • Members have key roles to play as community leaders • Need for a strategic framework