Archive for 2009

Making the business case for community engagement

We are interested in debating this – click on the title of this post if you would like to proceed to a message board where you can comment and contribute.

This might be about

  • explicit messages on how community engagement can help agencies to meet targets, in the light of statistics like the 85.7% of Local Authorities who think that the economic slowdown will make it more difficult to achieve Local Area Agreement targets (Survey of the Impact of the Economic Slowdown on Local Authorities 2008)
  • ideas for, and experience of, measuring ROI (Return on Investment) where the investment is community engagement

or something else …

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 Community engagement

echo update

echo, our framework to assess and develop public sector openness to influence, is now being tested in the West Midlands as part of the Improvement & Efficiency West Midlands ‘Learning to Deliver’ Programme.

It promises to have a relatively wide application and has already been used to:

  • help a Partnership Board to consider how genuinely open they are to community influence
  • help inform proposals for improving the quality of community engagement across a locality
  • increase awareness and understanding amongst key decision makers and influencers of the need to be open to influence and of what being open to influence looks like
  • prioritise actions to move community engagement forward across a Partnership
  • as part of a broader action plan on delivering community engagement in a District over a three year period.
  • enhance understanding of engagement & empowerment.
  • contribute to an LAA NI4 Delivery Plan

If you have not yet come across echo, but this raises your interest, you can find out more in our resources section.

Voice update

Recent comments about Voice include:

Hugely useful, quite enlightening, the breadth and depth is interesting. It doesn’t require significant adaptation to be used in a variety of circumstances

Voice, our framework on assessing and developing community influence,  is now being widely used by Community Groups, Networks, Organisations and Forums.

We have recently introduced it to: Police Independent Advisory Groups, Community Centre Management Committees and Community Anchors, and are soon to see how it works with Voluntary Sector Organisations and Forums.

If you haven’t come across it yet but like the sound of it then check out our resources section to download a copy of our leaflet and handy guide, or read more about community influence under our areas of work.

Voice is of particular relevance for workers assigned/attached to particular community groups, networks, organisations, and workers working with and supporting community groups, networks and organisations.

Very useful tool it has clarified things and has given us a lot more to think about

Friday, June 19th, 2009 Community empowerment, Community influence

Dispersed leadership

We have been thinking about what we understand by ‘leadership’, with the help of some ideas from ‘Power, Leadership and Change’ (OU Business School, 2000) produced by the Certificate in Management Programme Team:

Instead of seeing leadership as something invested in one person we  consider leadership as a process: – tackling the big issues that face a group or an organisation.

For example, if we agree that there are three types of core issues in a group or organisation:
Strategic: the overall direction of the group and the vision
Task: how the group will achieve what it wants to
People: maintaining the morale, commitment and enthusiasm of people over time

Then, a leader is someone who helps the group tackle any or all of these issues – meaning that there can be several leaders at any one time, all working on different things.

It is therefore possible to talk about leadership being ‘dispersed’ throughout the group or organisation – with some having more dispersed leadership than others depending upon culture and membership.

People can demonstrate leadership in different ways:

  • Reviewing where the group or organisation is going
  • Making sure people feel comfortable and welcomed
  • Searching for funding opportunities
  • Representing the group in wider forums
  • Researching matters of interest to the group
  • Knowing the local political and funding context

People can only be leaders if other members of the group or organisation accept them as leaders, accept their influence. This acceptance is often based on knowledge and expertise.