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partnerships:guide:easy [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +# Easy answers
 +
 +Faced with ideas like levels of participation,​ different phases and
 +roles you may be tempted by some quick fixes for your participation
 +problems. These can bring their own difficulties. For example:
 +
 +-   ​[\`What we need is a public meeting'​](easy#​public)
 +-   [\`A good leaflet, video and exhibition will get the message
 +    across'​](easy#​leaf)
 +-   ​[\`Commission a survey'​](easy#​survey)
 +-   ​[\`Appoint a liaison officer'​](easy#​liaison)
 +-   ​[\`Work through the voluntary sector'​](easy#​volorg)
 +-   ​[\`Set up a consultative committee'​](easy#​comm)
 +-   ​[\`There'​s no time to do proper consultation'​](easy#​time)
 +-   ​[\`Run a Planning for Real session'​](easy#​real)
 +-   ​[\`It'​s technical - requiring a professional
 +    solution'​](easy#​tech)
 +-   ​[\`Bring in consultants expert in community
 +    participation'​](easy#​consult)
 +
 +`What we need is a public meeting'​
 +------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +You will certainly need to meet the public, but the conventional set-up
 +with a fixed agenda, platform and rows of chairs is a stage set for
 +conflict. Among the problems are:
 +
 +-   The audience will contain many different interests, with different
 +    levels of understanding and sympathy. It is difficult to know how to
 +    pitch a presentation.
 +-   It is very difficult to keep to a fixed agenda - people may bring up
 +    any issue they chose and you just look authoritarian if you try and
 +    shut them up.
 +-   Few people get a chance to have a say.
 +
 +As an alternative:​
 +
 +-   ​Identify and meet key interests informally.
 +-   Run workshop sessions for different interest groups.
 +-   Bring people together after the workshop sessions in a report-back
 +    seminar. By then everyone should have some ideas in common.
 +-   If you must do a one-off meeting, split people into small groups
 +    early on and run a report back in the second half.
 +-   Make clear in all publicity that it is an ideas session with group
 +    discussion.
 +-   Plan the layout of the room(s) so you avoid \`them and us', and can
 +    split easily into groups.
 +-   In short, make a public meeting the last thing you do, not the
 +    first.
 +
 +*See Access, Public meetings, Workshops* [*in the A-Z*](AZpartic)
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +`A good leaflet, video and exhibition will get the message across'​
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +These may well be useful tools, but it is easy to be beguiled by the
 +products and forget what you are trying to achieve.\
 +\
 + ​*Before you brief the production team first consider:*
 +
 +-   What level of participation are you aiming for? If it is anything
 +    more than information-giving,​ you are looking for feedback and
 +    possibly other people'​s ideas and commitment. High-cost
 +    presentations suggest you have made up your mind.
 +-   What response do you want - and can you handle it?
 +-   Could you achieve more with lower-cost materials and more
 +    face-to-face contact?
 +
 +*See Communications,​ Videos* [in the A-Z](AZpartic) *and* [Where do
 +you stand?,​](stance)
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +`Commission a survey'​
 +-----------------------------------------------
 +
 +A questionnaire study and/or in-depth discussion groups can be an
 +excellent ways to start a participation process. On the other hand they
 +can be a magnificent way of avoiding the issue of what you want by
 +asking other people what they want. Fine, if you are then able to
 +deliver.\
 +\
 + *Bear in mind:*
 +
 +-   ​Surveys require expert design and piloting to be useful.
 +-   They are only as good as the brief you provide. Why do you want a
 +    survey?
 +-   It is unwise to jump from an analysis of the results straight to
 +    proposed solutions, particularly if you want the commitment of other
 +    interests. The analysis will inevitably be an abstraction,​ and the
 +    ideas will not be \`owned'​ by anyone unless people have a chance to
 +    think them through.
 +-   In planning a survey: first put yourself on the receiving end of the
 +    questioning,​ and second design it as part of a process which will
 +    lead through to some action.
 +
 +*See Surveys* [*in the A-Z*\
 +](AZpartic)
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +`Appoint a liaison officer'​
 +------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +That may be a useful step, but not if everyone else thinks it is the end
 +of their involvement in the process. Are you just trying to pass the
 +buck to someone else ?
 +
 +Aim to empower your liaison officer. Consider:
 +
 +-   Do they have the necessary skills and resources for the job?
 +-   Will they get the backing of other colleagues?
 +-   Are they being expected to occupy conflicting roles - that is, wear
 +    too many hats? It is difficult to present yourself as a neutral
 +    facilitator if you are also making recommendations on funding. The
 +    temptation to manipulate agendas is strong.
 +
 +*See* [It takes time.](time)
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +`Work through the voluntary sector'​
 +-------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +Voluntary bodies are a major route to communities of interest, and may
 +have people and resources to contribute to the participation process.
 +However, they are not \`the community'​.
 +
 +-   There will be many small community groups who are not part of the
 +    more formalised voluntary sector.
 +-   ​Voluntary groups, like any organisations,​ will have their own
 +    agendas - funding targets to achieve, issues to pursue. They are not
 +    a neutral.
 +
 +Treat voluntary organisations as another sectoral interest in the
 +community - albeit a particularly important one:
 +
 +-   Check out organisations with a number of different sources. Having
 +    said all that, voluntary organisations will have a wealth of
 +    experience and are essential allies. They'​ve been through many of
 +    the problems of involving people before.
 +
 +*See Community, Stakeholders,​ Voluntary sector* [in the
 +A-Z](AZpartic)
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +<span id="​comm"></​span>​\`Set up a consultative committee'​
 +---------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +Some focus for decision-making will be necessary in anything beyond
 +simple consultation processes. However:
 +
 +-   Even if a committee is elected or drawn from key interest groups it
 +    will not be a channel for reaching most people.
 +-   ​People invited to join a committee may feel uncomfortable about
 +    being seen as representatives.
 +-   The committee can just reinforce \`them and us' attitudes if some
 +    members have more power than others.
 +
 +Consider instead:
 +
 +-   A group which helps you plan the participation process.
 +-   ​Surveys,​ workshops and informal meetings to identify other people
 +    who might become actively involved.
 +-   A range of groups working on specific issues.
 +-   ​Defining any central group in terms of the longer term aim. For
 +    example, if a Management Board or Trust is a possibility,​ you are
 +    looking for a \`shadow'​ Board.
 +
 +*See Committees, Workshops* [in the A-Z](AZpartic)
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +<span id="​time"></​span>​\`There'​s no time to do proper consultation'​
 +-------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +That may be the case if the timetable is imposed externally - or do you
 +feel that consultation will raise questions you can't answer? Beware:
 +the questions won't go away, and you could be forced into a climb-down
 +later on in the face of protest.\
 +\
 + *If the timetable is genuinely tight:*
 +
 +-   ​Explain the pressure that you are under.
 +-   At least produce a leaflet or send out a letter.
 +-   Run a crash programme for those interested - perhaps over a weekend.
 +
 +*See I*[t takes time,​](time) *Timeline* [in the A-Z](AZpartic)
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +<span id="​real"></​span>​\`Run a Planning for Real session'​
 +---------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +Special \`packaged'​ techniques can be very powerful ways of getting
 +people involved. However there are horses for courses - no one technique
 +is applicable to all situations. Are you just falling into the
 +technology trap - believing that a gadget will fix the problem? This
 +guide aims to suggest what is appropriate when.\
 +\
 + *See Planning for Real* [in the A-Z](AZpartic)
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +<span id="​tech"></​span>​\`It'​s technical - requiring a professional solution'​
 +----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +If you believe that, why consult anyone? Before following this arrogant
 +course, reflect on the many examples of disaster and political
 +miscalculation where the experts knew best.\
 +\
 + ​*Before leaving it to the experts consider:*
 +
 +-   Are you sure you know what the problem is - would everyone else
 +    agree?
 +-   Is there really only one way of fixing things?
 +-   Do you need the support of other interests to carry the proposals
 +    through? If you don't give them an early say in the solution they
 +    could become part of the problem.
 +
 +*See Problem clarification,​ Decision-making* [in the A-Z](AZpartic)
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +<span id="​consult"></​span>​\`Bring in consultants expert in community participation'​
 +-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +There'​s some truth in the saying that \`consultants are people who steal
 +your watch in order to tell you the time'. Often you have the answer
 +yourself, and you are just trying to avoid grappling with the issue. Of
 +course there are situations when you need outside expertise - whether
 +technical, or in clearing your own mind or facilitating the
 +participation process.\
 +\
 + *If you do use consultants:​*
 +
 +-   Get a recommendation from a previous client if possible.
 +-   Give a clear brief on what you are trying to achieve, the level of
 +    control and boundaries for action. At the same time be prepared to
 +    discuss and, if necessary, renegotiate the brief.
 +-   ​Encourage them to ask hard questions and provide an independent
 +    perspective.
 +-   Play an active role in their work to provide continuing guidance and
 +    learn from the experience. Don't use the consultants as insulation.
 +-   Make sure you and your organisation can deliver in response to the
 +    ideas they produce, and you can handle things when they leave.
 +-   ​Include work within your organisation to parallel that with
 +    community interests. Many problem in participation processes arise
 +    within the promoting organisation.
 +-   Agree a realistic budget - then challenge the consultants to
 +    perform.
 +-   ​Remember that most consultancy exercises are only as good as the
 +    client.
 +
 +*See Consultants* [in the A-Z](AZpartic)
 +
 +The next section provides a [framework](frame) for thinking about
 +participation
 +
  
partnerships/guide/easy.txt ยท Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)