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partnerships:guide:time [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +# It takes time
 +
 +Often participation is treated as a limited set of events - a survey, an
 +exhibition, one or two meetings. However, if participation is to be more
 +than superficial consultation it must be treated as a process which
 +takes some time. This section deals with the main phases of
 +participation,​ and stresses that success depends on careful preparation.
 +
 +The participation process
 +-------------------------
 +
 +The Framework section suggested treating participation as a process
 +which has four main phases:
 +
 +-   ​[Initiation](time#​Init)
 +-   ​[Preparation](time#​prep)
 +-   ​[Participation](time#​part)
 +-   ​[Continuation](time#​cont)
 +
 +(Thanks to Allen Hickling for suggesting these phases during a workshop
 +in Glasgow in1993).\
 + Of course, in reality life is never that tidy, and we find that we are
 +pitched into trying to do things without enough planning.\
 +\
 + Often it is difficult to see what to do before trying something out,
 +and reflecting on what happened. It may only be then that we find out
 +what the real problem is.\
 +\
 + This cycle goes on throughout any process to carry out a project or
 +programme. Participation is no different.\
 +\
 + ​Because participation doesn'​t run on predetermined tracks it isn't
 +possible to set out a step by step guide - every situation will be
 +different. However there are some key issues which keep cropping up, and
 +some are more important in particular phases. The questions and
 +checklists in this section all relate back to the main question set in
 +the Signposts from theory to practice section.
 +
 +Initiation
 +----------
 +
 +The process of participation may be triggered in many ways:
 +
 +-   A campaign of protest may be turned into a more collaborative
 +    programme of action.
 +-   An authority may promote a project.
 +-   ​Government may announce funding is available for community-based
 +    projects.
 +
 +Often situations will be messy and unclear, with different people and
 +groups having different views of what is going on. In order to move into
 +a planned process of participation,​ it is important to start asking some
 +key questions. These will recur in different forms throughout.
 +
 +### An outline agenda
 +
 +1.  Who is going to champion the process?
 +2.  Who pays? Who administers?​ Who convenes ?
 +3.  What are you trying to achieve through participation?​
 +4.  Who are the key interests in the community?
 +5.  Who are the key interests within any organisation promoting
 +    participation,​ and what are their attitudes?
 +6.  What level of participation is likely to be appropriate and
 +    acceptable?
 +7.  How will you know when you have succeeded?
 +
 +For guidance see the section [Guidelines on How to..](howto),​ and
 +[A-Z](AZparticl) entries on *Aims and objectives, Confidence, Levels
 +of participation,​ Stakeholders,​ SWOT*.
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +Preparation
 +-----------
 +
 +As these key issues become clearer, it is important to prepare on three
 +fronts:
 +
 +-   ​Initial spadework with whoever is promoting the process.
 +-   ​Agreeing the approach with key interests.
 +-   ​Developing a strategy.
 +
 +Most experienced facilitators and trainers agree that 80% of successful
 +participation lies in preparation - so don't skimp on it .
 +
 +### Spadework with the promoter
 +
 +In my experience the toughest problems in participation processes do not
 +stem from apathy, ignorance or lack of skills among residents or other
 +community interests. Given time and effort these can be worked through.\
 +\
 + The most intractable problems arise because organisations promoting
 +participation aren't clear about what they want to achieve, are fearful
 +of sharing control, and seldom speak with one voice.\
 +\
 + ​Unless these issues are tackled at the outset they are likely to lead
 +to frustration,​ conflict and disillusion further down the line.\
 +\
 + The key issue is, what does the promoting organisation want from the
 +participation process? The most common goals are:
 +
 +-   ​Improving the quality of the outcome - the project or programme.
 +-   ​Developing the capabilities of the participants.
 +-   ​Building working relationships of benefit for the future.
 +-   ​Increasing ownership and the acceptability of the outcome.
 +
 +In preparing a participation process it is important to consider the mix
 +of these desired goals, and whether they are they realistic. In
 +particular, is there the internal commitment within the organisation to
 +bring them about? A group of experienced practitioners who discussed
 +these issues at the Gorbals workshop in November 1993, developed the
 +following checklist.
 +
 +### The internal agenda
 +
 +-   What does the organisation want to achieve from the participation
 +    process?
 +-   What are the boundaries of the task? What is fixed, and what is
 +    still open?
 +-   What level of participation is appropriate with the different
 +    outside interests?
 +-   Can the organisation respond to the outcomes of the process or are
 +    they intending to manipulate the participants towards pre-determined
 +    outcomes?
 +-   What is the \`real'​ agenda? Are there any hidden agendas?
 +-   What is the history of the issues, and what are the positions of the
 +    various parties?
 +-   Who owns the process within the organisation?​ Is there more than one
 +    owner and if so how will this be managed?
 +-   Are the senior officers and politicians prepared to make a public
 +    commitment and to be accessible to the participants?​
 +-   Who is involved internally? Have they got their internal act
 +    together? Are they really committed to the process? Will they stick
 +    at it when the going gets tough?
 +-   What resources are available? How much time is there?
 +-   How does this measure up to the support or involvement expected by
 +    community interests?
 +
 +If you are acting as the manager of the participation process it is
 +important that the internal \`client'​ understands,​ agrees and values
 +your role.\
 +\
 + In order to achieve this understanding it is a good idea to apply
 +participation techniques to the internal process with the client After
 +this experience they are more likely to understand the techniques you
 +use and support you when you apply them externally.
 +
 +#### Understanding key interests
 +
 +Before starting the formal processes of producing leaflets, calling
 +meetings or running workshops it is important to understand who's who
 +and what outcomes they may be looking for. Here's a checklist of some of
 +the early tasks and issues:
 +
 +-   ​Consider the potential obstacles to participation,​ for example:
 +    rigid views, authoritarian cultures, grudges and antagonisms,​
 +    passive and hard-to-reach interest groups, NlMBYs (Not in My Back
 +    Yard), professionals and technicians with poor communication skills,
 +    groups defending perceived power and status, or lacking the
 +    confidence, skills, or knowledge to participate. How will these be
 +    managed?
 +-   Meet the key agencies and lobbies. Get out and network formally and
 +    informally. Open new lines of communication. Meet one-to-one when
 +    possible to encourage candid responses.
 +-   There are four main groups of participants:​ politicians;​ decision
 +    makers and resource holders; activists; and ordinary people. How
 +    will you get beyond the (often self-appointed) activists? How will
 +    you pro-actively involve hard-to-reach groups?
 +-   Not everyone has an equal stake: build in different levels of
 +    involvement for different levels of commitment. Not everyone needs
 +    to be involved in every issue at every level and at every stage.
 +-   Help the parties decide how their representatives will relate to
 +    their constituencies.
 +-   ​Research the availability of additional resources. Bring potential
 +    funders into the process.
 +-   Get back to the client and gain assent to the process design.
 +
 +### Agreeing the approach - a strategy
 +
 +After discussions with the internal client and external interests, you
 +should be able to develop a strategy for the participation process. The
 +precise nature of the strategy will, of course, depend upon
 +circumstances and the level of participation sought with different
 +interests. These issues are dealt with in more detail in the \`How
 +to...' section. Here are some of the main points to cover:
 +
 +#### Strategy checklist
 +
 +As far as possible gain agreement of all parties to the following:
 +
 +-   The aims of the process and how progress will be evaluated.
 +-   The \`feel'​ of the process: the style and tone.
 +-   The groupings, forums and decision cycles to be employed.
 +-   ​Precisely what authority is being delegated to whom.
 +-   The appropriate approaches and techniques, taking into account time
 +    scale, objectives, resources, openness of information sharing etc.
 +-   The ground-rules:​ how are we going to deal with each other?
 +-   The resources available and any conditions attached.
 +-   The technical and administrative services available.
 +-   The mechanisms for recording and disseminating information.
 +-   The level of support and resources to be made available.
 +
 +Some of these issues may have to evolve with the process: it may not be
 +possible to agree everything at the start. If it seems worth the risk,
 +you may just have to get some action off the ground and work out the
 +details as you go along. You should also:
 +
 +-   Bear in mind that people have limited patience and attention spans:
 +    how will you deal with long lead times?
 +-   Be sure everyone understands the constraints:​ what the process will
 +    **not** achieve for them. Unrealistic expectations can only lead to
 +    disillusionment.
 +-   Be realistic about what can be achieved with the time and resources
 +    available.
 +
 +See also items [in the A-Z](AZparticl) on *Action plans, Budgets for
 +participation,​ Communication,​ Workshops.*
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +<span id="​part"></​span>​Participation
 +------------------------------------
 +
 +During this phase you will be running events, producing printed
 +materials and using a range of methods. The [Guidelines on How
 +to](howto)... section and [A-Z](AZparticl) items provide
 +detailed guidance.\
 +\
 + The following are some of tips which emerged from brainstorming
 +sessions with experienced practitioners about this phase of the process:
 +
 +-   ​Don'​t underestimate people. Give them tools to manage complexity
 +    don't, shield them from it.
 +-   ​Divide the issues into bite-sized chunks.
 +-   Start with people'​s own concerns and the issues relevant to them.
 +    Don't superimpose your own ideas and solutions at the outset.
 +-   Help people widen their perceptions of the choices available and to
 +    clarify the implications of each option.
 +-   Build in visible early successes to develop the confidence of
 +    participants. \`Staircase'​ skills, trust and commitment to the
 +    process: offer a progressive range of levels of involvement and help
 +    people to move up the ladder.
 +-   ​Direct empowerment training for participants may not be
 +    appreciated - it may be better to develop skills more organically as
 +    part of the process.
 +-   If at all possible, avoid going for a comprehensive irreversible
 +    solution. Set up an iterative learning process, with small, quick,
 +    reversible pilots and experiments.
 +-   ​Continuously review and widen membership. As new interests groups
 +    are discovered how will they be integrated into the process?
 +-   Help people to build their understanding of complex and remote
 +    decision processes which are outside the delegated powers of the
 +    participation process but which are affecting the outcomes.
 +-   ​Nurture new networks and alliances.
 +-   Plans must be meaningful and lead to action.
 +-   ​Manage the link between the private ability of the various interest
 +    groups to deliver on their commitments and the public accountability
 +    and control of the implementation.
 +-   Build in opportunities for reflection and appraisal.
 +-   Make sure people are having fun!
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +Continuation - keeping going
 +----------------------------
 +
 +The final phase in a participation process. By this time it should be
 +clear how any agreed proposals are going to be taken forward. How this
 +is done will depend very much on the level of participation.\
 +\
 + At one level - of consultation - you may have worked through some
 +prepared options with different interests and then agreed to take the
 +results away for evaluation and implementation.\
 +\
 + At another level - working together - you may be setting up new
 +partnership organisations.
 +
 +### Checklist
 +
 +-   Did we achieve what we set out to do in the process?
 +-   Were the key interests happy with the level of involvement?​
 +-   Have we reported back to people on the outcomes?
 +-   Are responsibilities clear for carrying projects forward?
 +-   Are there major lessons we can learn for the next time?
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +Postscript
 +----------
 +
 +Groups and organisations,​ like relationships,​ go through recognisable
 +stages. The early stages have been described as:
 +
 +-   ​**Forming:​** coming together as a group, getting to know each other,
 +    deciding what the group'​s concerns and emphases should be.
 +-   ​**Storming:​** coming to terms with differences within the group.
 +-   ​**Norming:​** agreeing objectives, priorities, procedures, ways of
 +    relating to each other.
 +-   ​**Performing:​** getting on with the work, without having to spend a
 +    lot of time and energy deciding what needs doing and how it should
 +    be done.
 +
 +All of this is difficult enough in a group which meets frequently, or in
 +a formal organisation. It should be no surprise that it is even more
 +complex in a participation process when so many different interests have
 +to find a common vision. Don't be discouraged!
 +
 +### [The next section: Signposts from theory to practice](theory)
  
partnerships/guide/time.txt ยท Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)