Active citizenship

Emerging work

In amidst concerns that under-represented and small community groups will be left behind in a Big Society which focuses on individuals volunteering and a relatively small number of community organisers covering vast areas and agendas, we have two new – and exciting – emerging themes of work which may well help to take forward work which focuses on individuals, community groups – of all capacities – and the public sector. These are:

Elected Members – using Voice, echo and active citizenship frameworks to explore changing and complex roles in the light of Localism. We have been working with Parish, Town, Borough, City and County Councillors in different parts of the country and receiving very positive responses about how Voice and echo help them to structure conversations, see the wood amongst the trees and identify priorities.

Health Partnerships – using Voice and echo to build relationships with the community sector and voluntary sector, as well as individuals – creating partnerships to inform GP consortia in the new commissioning environment. Participants on Voice and echo courses have flagged up the potential here for systematic ways of working with sustainable outcomes. We are drafting up ideas and will get those out and about when they have a bit more detail to them.

Women Take Part

We were delighted to receive this bit of feedback

“I have just found your women take part report. Fantastic! I am going to use it to argue for why we need a gender analysis in all we do in the Joint Forum’ and also for our service agreement with the council. The emphasis on learning about gender inequality, women centred support and the framework to overcome organisational barriers is brilliant”

Jackie Patiniotis

Joint Forum Development Worker
The Joint Forum, Liverpool

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 Active citizenship, Equalities & Diversity

All change

New Government, new model of Government, new terminology, new thinking, new initatives, Big Society, Community Organisers, cuts, new ways of working, threats to equalities groups, mergers, partnerships, voluntary and volunteering more than community. Explore these on our networking site

Get talking!

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new networking site, where clients, participants from our courses and the simply curious can get together and talk about anything related to the different areas of changes’ work. The vast majority of the site is open, with just a few groups kept aside for participants who have been involved in specific course and are encouraged to share their learning and practice. Have a look-see: http://changesuk.net/network

Monday, March 1st, 2010 Active citizenship

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.

Active Citizenship

changes consultants have been involved in developing the Take Part Learning Framework for active learning for active citizenship.

It is available to view and/or download – just click here: Take Part framework

The Framework has been designed to:

  • bring together current thinking and practice around citizenship learning and adults
  • emphasise the link between active learning and active citizenship
  • situate ‘citizenship’ within broad political and theoretical contexts
  • provide a resource – to use – and add to

It is for learning providers, educationalists, trainers and facilitators, policy makers, funders, community workers and planners who want to:

  • support education which strengthens democracy, governance and society
  • provide learning opportunities which reach out to people
  • take a learner-centred approach
  • encourage people to make a difference for themselves and others
  • engage more effectively with a wider range of people

The framework was developed by Jill Bedford (changes), Helen Marsh (London Civic Forum) and Dave Wright (Exeter CVS), following a two year pilot, Active Learning for Active Citizenship, funded by the Home Office. IMPACT! Women Active in Community and Public Life – mentioned elsewhere on this website – was the Black Country hub.

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006 Active citizenship