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partnerships:guide:ideas [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +# 10 key ideas about participation
 +Behind the detailed suggestions in the guide about how to manage
 +participation effectively are 10 key ideas. Each of these is also dealt
 +with in the A-Z and in other sections.
 +Level of participation
 +Sherry Arnstein, writing in 1969 about citizen involvement in planning
 +processes in the United States, described a ladder of participation with
 +eight steps. I have altered this model to five stances detailed in the
 +[Framework](frame) section:
 +-   ​Information
 +-   ​Consultation
 +-   ​Deciding together
 +-   ​Acting together
 +-   ​Supporting independent community interests
 +I do not suggest any one stance is better than any other - it is rather
 +a matter of \`horses for courses'​. Different levels are appropriate at
 +different times to meet the expectations of different interests.\
 + ​Here'​s the original Arnstein model.\
 + ​![](Arn.gif)\
 + **1 Manipulation and 2 Therapy.** Both are non participative. The aim
 +is to cure or educate the participants. The proposed plan is best and
 +the job of participation is to achieve public support by public
 + **3 Informing.** A most important first step to legitimate
 +participation. But too frequently the emphasis is on a one way flow of
 +information. No channel for feedback.\
 + **4 Consultation.** Again a legitimate step - attitude surveys,
 +neighbourhood meetings and public enquiries. But Arnstein still feels
 +this is just a window dressing ritual.\
 + **5 Placation.** For example, co-option of hand-picked '​worthies'​ onto
 +committees. It allows citizens to advise or plan ad infinitum but
 +retains for power holders the right to judge the legitimacy or
 +feasibility of the advice.\
 + **6 Partnership.** Power is in fact redistributed through negotiation
 +between citizens and power holders. Planning and decision-making
 +responsibilities are shared e.g. through joint committees.\
 + **7 Delegated power.** Citizens holding a clear majority of seats on
 +committees with delegated powers to make decisions. Public now has the
 +power to assure accountability of the programme to them.\
 + **8 Citizen Control.** Have-nots handle the entire job of planning,
 +policy making and managing a programme e.g. neighbourhood corporation
 +with no intermediaries between it and the source of funds.
 +Sherry Arnstein'​s ladder is [available in full
 +Initiation and process
 +This guide deals with situations where someone, or some organisation,​
 +seeks to involve others at some level - that is, participation doesn'​t
 +just happen, it is initiated. Someone (termed here a practitioner) then
 +manages a process over time, and allows others involved more or less
 +control over what happens. In the guide the process is described during
 +four phases: Initiation - Preparation - Participation - Continuation.
 +The initiator is in a strong position to decide how much or how little
 +control to allow to others - for example, just information,​ or a major
 +say in what is to happen. This decision is equivalent to taking a stand
 +on the ladder - or adopted a stance about the level of participation.
 +Power and purpose
 +Understanding participation involves understanding power: the ability of
 +the different interests to achieve what they want. Power will depend on
 +who has information and money. It will also depend on people'​s
 +confidence and skills. Many organisations are unwilling to allow people
 +to participate because they fear loss of control: they believe there is
 +only so much power to go around, and giving some to others means losing
 +your own.\
 + ​However,​ there are many situations when working together allows
 +everyone to achieve more than they could on their own. These represent
 +the benefits of participation.
 +Role of the practitioner
 +This guide is written mainly for people who are planning or managing
 +participation processes - here termed \`practitioners'​. Because these
 +practitioners control much of what happens it is important they
 +constantly think about the part they are playing.
 +Stakeholders and community
 +I think that \`stakeholders'​ is one piece of jargon which really helps
 +our understanding of participation. On the other hand \`community'​ can
 +be a hindrance.
 +A stakeholder is anyone who has a stake in what happens. The term forces
 +us to think about who will be affected by any project, who controls the
 +information,​ skills and money needed, who may help and who may hinder.
 +It does not follow that everyone affected has an equal say; the idea of
 +the ladder is to prompt thinking about who has most influence.
 +Community is a problem term if it is used as a blanket description for
 +\`all those other people'​. There are many communities,​ defined by, for
 +example, people'​s shared interests, locality, age or gender. The
 +\`community'​ which participates will depend on the project or programme
 +because different people are interested in different issues. Where
 +community is used in the guide it is shorthand for communities.
 +Partnership,​ like community, is a much abused term. I think it is useful
 +when a number of different interests willingly come together formally or
 +informally to achieve some common purpose. The partners don't have to be
 +equal in skills, funds or even confidence, but they do have to trust
 +each other and share some commitment. In participation processes - as in
 +our personal and social lives - building trust and commitment takes
 +Commitment is the other side of apathy: people are committed when they
 +want to achieve something, apathetic when they don't. But what leads to
 +commitment? Not, in my experience, telling people \`you ought to care',
 +inviting them to public meetings or bombarding them with glossy
 +leaflets. I think people care about what they are interested in, and
 +become committed when they feel they can achieve something. Hard selling
 +won't achieve that. If people are apathetic about your proposals, it may
 +simply be that they don't share your interests or concerns.
 +Ownership of ideas
 +People are most likely to be committed to carry something through if
 +they have a stake in the idea. One of the biggest barriers to action is
 +\`not invented here'. The antidote is to allow people to say \`we
 +thought of that'. In practice that means running brainstorming
 +workshops, helping people think through the practicality of ideas, and
 +negotiating with others a result which is acceptable to as many people
 +as possible.
 +Clearly this isn't possible if you are simply providing people with
 +information about your own ideas, or consulting them on a limited number
 +of ideas of your own. Apathy is directly proportional to the stake
 +people have in ideas and outcomes.
 +Confidence and capacity
 +Ideas and wish lists are little use if they cannot be put into practice.
 +The ability to do that depends as much on people'​s confidence and skills
 +as it does on money. Many participation processes involve breaking new
 +ground - tackling difficult projects and setting up new forms of
 + It is unrealistic to expect individuals or small groups suddenly to
 +develop the capability to make complex decisions and become involved in
 +major projects. They need training - or better still the opportunity to
 +learn formally and informally, to develop confidence, and trust in each
 + Each or these terms is dealt with in more detail in the [A-Z of
 +effective participation](AZparticl).\
 + **The next sections**\
 + Each or the terms above is dealt with in more detail [in the
 +A-Z](AZparticl) section, and you may wish to skip the following
 +sections and browse the A-Z, then return to some of the theory.\
 + The first theoretical section, [A framework for
 +participation](frame),​ takes the revised ladder of participation,​
 +and extends it across time - the process - and across interests - the
 +stakeholders. Before that here are some [Easy answers](easy) - or
 +are they?
partnerships/guide/ideas.txt ยท Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)