Archive for 2008

echo – a tool for public agencies

echo is a tool for public agencies to use to consider how open they are to community influence, in relation to their potential to respond to that influence. We have been talking to different agencies about it and it seems to make sense to them, so we are currently in the process of testing it out.

For a brief lowdown – download the 2-page summary and, if you want more information, you can download a copy of the original research report.

We recently ran a ‘rapid briefing’ session in the East Midlands where officers identified a variety of uses for echo:

  • It is an easy toolkit, could be useful across the County to help consistency and to talk to the non-converted
  • It could help with the Community Engagement Strategy development thought process
  • It could provide us with a baseline of where we are – and an action plan
  • It made me think differently – more deeply into what outcomes could be
  • It turns the intangible into the tangible
  • I can see how we could usefully apply this to help the organisation move forward in terms of equality and diversity
  • There has to be recognition of good practice in the organisation, echo can help us to locate this and learn from it
  • Within an LSP context it is important – funding reductions will make it hard for the LA to respond so we are going to have to work more in partnership

changes offers short (3 hour) sessions to introduce echo and facilitate discussion about how it might be useful to agencies and partnerships: contact us for fees and availability

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 Community influence

DiCE: planning & evaluation framework

changes is pleased to introduce DiCE – download the 2-page summary here!

Researched for over 10 years, DiCE has been developed by community development specialists, to enable organisations to carry out effective community empowerment, putting the values and principles of community development into action.

DiCE can help you work with communities:

  • Increasing skills, knowledge and confidence
  • Promoting equality and inclusion
  • Bringing people together around common issues and concerns
  • Building positive relationships across communities and groups and enabling co-operative working
  • Encouraging and enabling communities to influence decision making in public services

DiCE can be used for work which focuses on community wellbeing and community empowerment, at policy, programme or project level. It is appropriate to people who work in public and voluntary sectors, in roles such as: Community Engagement, Community Services, Neighbourhood Management…

changes offers 2-day training courses on DiCE – contact us for information

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 Community development, Community empowerment

Voice (formerly the Axis of Influence)

We have changed the name! The axis for community networks – once called ‘axis of influence’ – is now called ‘voice’. The reason for the change is that we have developed a second axis – for public sector agencies – called ‘echo’. Voice and echo are BOTH axes of influence so we wanted to give them each their own unique name.

‘Voice’ is a tool which helps community groups and networks to assess and improve the influence they have on agencies and partnerships. The ‘axis’ in ‘voice’ plots existing capacity to influence against how influential the group feels. It can be used to: assess and monitor community influence, prompt discussion and debate within groups and help plan how to become more influential.

“If this was America you’d be paying a fortune for the information and know-how that’s contained here. This model is indispensable for any organisation serious about making an impact” – comment from recent ‘Voice’ facilitator training

changes has developed a Resource Pack to help people to make the best use of voice.

voice in print

In its former guise as ‘the axis of influence’, articles about voice have been published in the Community Development Journal and NCVO newsletter.

Contact us to talk to us about commissioning a course for people in your area who work with community groups and networks to learn more about ‘voice’ and how to use it.

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 Community influence

Learning, Support & Development

This briefing paper summarises the Women Take Part (WTP) findings in relation to the learning, support and development opportunities available to women

Download the Learning, Support & Development Briefing Paper

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 Equalities & Diversity

Women's Journeys

This Briefing Paper summarises the WTP findings in relation to a model of women’s journeys to being active, critical citizens

Download the Women’s Journeys Briefing Paper

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 Equalities & Diversity

Organisations and Structures

This Briefing Paper summarises the WTP findings in relation to organisations supporting women’s involvement in public life and presents a typology or continuum of organisational steps

Download the Organisations & Structures Briefing Paper

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 Equalities & Diversity

Closing the Gap

This Briefing Paper brings together the two models developed in the research to form a framework which illustrates the relationship between women’s development and organisational change (see papers below)

Download the Closing the Gap Briefing Paper

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 Equalities & Diversity

echo – how open to influence are public agencies?

changes recently undertook a piece of research to explore and develop a framework for public agencies to use to consider how open they are to community influence. We have called the framework ‘echo’ to reflect its relationship to our other Axis of Influence: Voice.

echo recognises the restrictions that may be in place for these agencies and so includes an aspect which considers their ‘potential to respond’. Our experience suggests there is huge interest in this and you can download a copy of the research report here.

We recently ran a ‘rapid briefing’ session in the East Midlands where officers identified a variety of uses for echo:

  • It is an easy toolkit, could be useful across the County to help consistency and to talk to the non-converted
  • It could help with the Community Engagement Strategy development thought process
  • It could provide us with a baseline of where we are – and an action plan
  • It made me think differently – more deeply into what outcomes could be
  • It turns the intangible into the tangible
  • I can see how we could usefully apply this to help the organisation move forward in terms of equality and diversity
  • There has to be recognition of good practice in the organisation, echo can help us to locate this and learn from it
  • Within an LSP context it is important – funding reductions will make it hard for the LA to respond so we are going to have to work more in partnership

changes offers short (3 hour) sessions to introduce echo and facilitate discussion about how it might be useful to agencies and partnerships: contact us for fees and availability

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 Community influence

What is Community Empowerment?

In 1996, the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) was contracted by the Department of Health and Social Services (Northern Ireland) to develop a system for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of community development practices and principles. This research and subsequent workshops in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and England resulted in a the ABCD (Achieving Better Community Development) framework for practitioners, designed to measure change in: people, the community, local services and policy. It offered measures of change for each of the ‘building blocks of community development’ identified by the research. These building blocks included ‘dimensions of community empowerment’ which have subsequently developed, through practice and application, into the five dimensions specified here.

Further research undertaken by changes as part of the National Empowerment Partnership programme of activity (2008) led to the development of an 8-page handy guide called What is community empowerment, produced jointly with the Community Development Exchange and written specifically for Local Authority Officers.

The guide uses the 5 Community Empowerment Dimensions featured in the DiCE (planning & evaluation) framework to offer and interpretation of community empowerment which is about putting the values of community development into practice.

If you like the guide, you might also be interested in the full DiCE framework, download our news sheet with more information or – contact us for details.

Friday, April 18th, 2008 Community empowerment