Involving Citizens In Decision-Making
When public services work in partnership with the people they serve, powerful things happen.
Over the past decade national politicians have learnt that public services alone cannot deliver everything that is needed to create a healthy society.
Whatever the public issue - improving the life chances of children, creating neighbourhoods that are a pleasure to live in or making sure that politicians reach the right decisions in tough times - the knowledge, ideas and actions of citizens and their communities have a crucial contribution to make.
For thirty years I have been working with individuals and communities to demonstrate in very practical ways the truth of that statement.
What one community wrote about their participation
'Stories were gathered from residents and others in the weeks leading up to the Community Conference and revealed three main themes in people’s vision for Cottingley. At the beginning of the Community Conference, we made a whole raft of suggestions for practical action in those three core ‘vision areas’. Later, Elaine invited us to choose a ‘vision area’ in which we would like to work. The groups, then, worked on the list of suggestions in each of those areas and narrowed them down to two small actions and one bold action which would enable our vision to become a reality.
It was great fun and, what was really important, was that everyone (young and old, experienced and not-so-experienced) could join in. (People identified) actions that they believe will work and to which they have pledged themselves to make them work.'
The Plan is now being turned into action.