A launch is the point at
which you formally announce or celebrate a process or
project. As such a launch event can come at the beginning -
during the Preparation or Participation phase - or later
during Continuation. The launch can be useful both
externally and also within an organisation:
- It provides a formal
start line if used at the beginning, when you can outline
the overall process and your stance .
- It is a good time to
attract media coverage.
- It is an opportunity for
- It is a deadline for
making decisions and preparing materials.
See also Communication,
Identity and Image, Time Line.
To lead the people, walk
behind them. Lao-Tzu
As a reaction against the stereotype of the autocratic
leader, it is fashionable in some management development
circles to suggest that everyone can be a leader - that is,
everyone can try and fulfil their purpose in life, and help
others do the same. That may not be how most people see the
issue of leadership, but it can be another helpful way of
looking at issues of confidence, capacity, empowerment and
enabling. Sandy Adirondack, in Just About Managing,
suggests it is helpful to think about the different
management strengths needed within a group or organisation:
the equivalent, perhaps, of leadership styles. She
identifies, co-ordinator, shaper, innovator, evaluator,
liaison, organiser, team builder, finisher,
Council uses a 'leadership audit' in community development
work with 100 questions for members of groups or
organisations. Participants choose statements which they
feel are broadly true from a list which includes, for
Everyone is usually involved in decisions affecting
Morale is high.
New ideas and suggestions are welcomed.
We feel we can have influence on decisions.
The scores are analysed against the following attributes:
vision, prioritising, motivation, interpersonal skills,
political sensitivity, resilience, charisma, risk taking,
The audit pack then suggests ways of correcting
Some simple form of printed
material will almost certainly be necessary in a
participation process - but will not be enough alone to gain
people's involvement. There is no substitute for knocking on
doors or networking. If the participation process is
lengthy, it may be worth considering a regular newsletter or
bulletin to report back on surveys, meetings and other
See also Communication, Print.
Levels of participation are
the different degrees of involvement offered to others by
whoever is starting or managing a participation process.
The levels used in this guide are Information, Consultation,
Deciding Together, Acting Together, and Supporting
Independent Community Initiatives. Methods for tackling
problems and making progress are listed under each one. No
one level is necessarily better than another - each may be
appropriate in different circumstances. However they do
represent different balances of control between the
different interests. Empowerment may be seen as helping
people reach the higher levels - provided that is what they
want to do.
See also items on each level, and the section
do you stand?
Sometimes it is more
important to discover what one cannot do, than what one can
do. Lin Yutang.
There's only so much any participation or capacity-building
process can achieve, and it is important to agree what is
realistic early in the process. People are more likely to
accept limitations, if they are put openly and honestly,
than disappointments later. That approach offers the
different interests an opportunity to decide whether to get
involved, or take some other action.
One of the best ways to
persuade others is with your ears. Dean Rusk
Listening is important at all stages of the participation
- To find out what
people's interests are.
- To learn the language
- To understand what role
you can most usefully play.
- To find what people
think of what is happening.
The governing body for a
project or organisation, to which staff are accountable. In
a company the management committee is the Board of
directors. If the organisation is a charity the members of
the management committee will be trustees. In appointing
management committees it is important to strike a balance
between representation and competence. Little will be
achieved if everyone on the committee has to learn how to
manage an organisation. At the same time, a committee which
has no representation of key interests may well find itself
See also Committees and the book Just about
managing? for detailed advice on management
News is what somebody
somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.
The media is mainly in the business of interesting and
entertaining its users, and of selling itself or
advertising. It is not there as a public service to promote
your ideas or project. There are, of course, exceptions:
public service announcements, community programmes,
specialist publications, and the newsletters of local
organisations. Parish magazines and what's on guides can be
However, if you are seeking space in newspapers, on local
radio or television, you will generally have to think news
or features. Journalists judge what is news against 'news
values' which vary between papers and stations, but
- Conflict (where's the
- Hardship (how many hurt,
who is in danger).
- Oddity (that's
- Scandal (sex,
- Individuality (what an
- Disclosure (we can
Local journalists have a
more relaxed view than Lord Northcliffe, but you do need to
consider what's in the story for them (and the editorial
executive who will decide whether it goes in the paper).
Features writers may be less concerned with disclosure or
scandal, but still need an interesting story to tell. Would
your story be worth telling to a friend outside the project?
If not, why should readers or viewers be
In dealing with
- Consider why you want
coverage - for example, to publicise an event, get
enquiries, show supporters or funders what you are
- If possible identify a
reporter covering your field, or link your story to other
- Try and turn your story
into an opportunity for pictures: essential for
television, likely to get you more space in
- Prepare a press release
and expect to deal with newspaper reporters on the
telephone. However, stay in touch with anyone you deal
with and try to meet at some stage. Personal contacts
generally produce more sympathetic stories, and are
invaluable if you later face a difficult situation which
could lead to adverse coverage.
See also Press
Meetings are at the heart of
participation processes, whether social get-togethers,
committees , workshops, or public meetings. See the item
on Access, and the points below.
For effective meetings,
- The style of the
meeting. If it is to be a creative workshop rather than a
committee, make sure people know that in
- An accessible venue
(public transport, disabled access).
- Child care
(crèche, financial assistance).
- What information and
notice is appropriate beforehand. In general, provide
papers with options for formal meetings, but only an
outline of the aims for a workshop so that people are
- Any aids you will need:
charts, projectors etc.
- The layout of the room,
and scope for breaking into small groups. Avoid a
platform and lecture-style seating if
- Good management of the
meeting itself : see committees, public meetings,
Follow up to make sure that
action has been taken and to inform people of the
See the publication How to Make Meetings Work, and
also Committees, Public meetings,
The methods for
participation featured in this guide fall under three main
Techniques. Frequently used short-term interventions
employed by consultants and trainers. They range from
communication materials and simple workshop sessions through
to more complex methods of decision-making like Strategic
Structures. Interim and longer-term organisational
structures used in participation processes. They range from
working parties and advisory committees to partnership
organisations like development trusts, and community-based
Longer-term Programmes which may involve staff
devoted partly or wholly to the programme as well as the use
of techniques and structures.
See also the Signposts
Mind maps or spidergrams are
a graphical technique for exploring solutions to
1 Take a large sheet
of paper, write your problem in the middle, and draw a line
2 List all the reasons for the problem in a circle
around the centre, each in a bubble.
3 Add in the solutions you can think of and connect
these to any of the causes or people involved or situations
connected with it.
Summarised from How to Solve Your
Minutes are the formal
record of meetings. As such they are an important reference
point for any discussions or arguments about what was
decided. They can be a spur to action as well.
Mission is what you wish to
achieve. The term is much favoured in business management,
but can confuse people with its military or evangelical
overtones. 'Purpose' is an alternative, although it has a
slightly different sense - I think mission has a stronger
emphasis on end result.
See also Aims and objectives, Outcomes,
There is nothing wrong
with making mistakes. Just don't respond with encores.
You will certainly make them - at least in the eyes of some
of those involved. Try and be honest about what happened,
and use the results to reshape the process.
See Plan, Act, Review.
At the end of any piece of
action you need to know two things that will aid future
How do we know we have been successful?
What can we learn so that we can do it better, or what is
the next step?
In order to do this you ideally need to be clear about aims
and objectives or purpose, and criteria for judging
success. Setting yourself the task of creating a system for
monitoring and evaluation may help clarify the purpose and
In planning monitoring and
- What we trying to
- How will we know we have
- What information do we
need to collect and how do we collect it?
- When is the best time to
evaluate how successful it has been?
- What can we count to use
in monitoring and evaluation?
- Who externally will
judge - and on what terms?
- What satisfaction are we
See also Criteria,
If you find you aren't sure
what to do next, or just seem to go around in circles, try
one or more of these techniques:
- Check that you agree on
your aims and objectives.
- Do a SWOT
- Brainstorm some new
- Develop priorities by
drawing up a Time Line.
- Follow the Plan, Act ,
See also Problem
Negotiation is `a
back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement
when you and the other side have some interests that are
shared and others that are opposed.' (Getting to
Practitioners in participation processes are bound to get
involved in negotiation as different interests try and work
out what they want from any situation, and have degrees of
control over the results. You can end up trying to mediate
between different factions, facilitating groups discussions,
or negotiate between community interests and their own
Getting to Yes advocates:
1 Separating the people from the problem. Put
yourself in other people's shoes to see the problem from
their point of view; don't attack the people, address the
2 Focus on interests, not positions. Try and find
areas where the outcomes you are seeking will overlap.
3 Invent options for mutual gain. Be creative in
developing ideas which could serve achieve the overlapping
4 Insist on objective criteria. Agree ways of judging
and reaching solutions which are agreed to be
Networking is the important
business of making informal contacts, chatting, and picking
up further contacts. It is the way to learn:
- What people are
interested in - the issues they consider
- The sort of ideas and
language they find familiar.
- Who are the key people
and organisations - the stakeholders.
Some networking is essential
before other more formal information-giving like producing
leaflets, staging exhibitions and holding meetings. Two
specific techniques are suggested in the book Creating
1 Telephone trees. A group of people takes
responsibility for ringing several others, who in turn ring
a further round of contacts.
2 Co-ordinators take responsibility for keeping
people in their street or block informed.
This technique - sometimes
called Snowball - can be used with fairly large groups and
is often more successful than Brainstorming with small
1 Before the meeting
clarify what information it is hoped to gather, then develop
two specific questions.
2 At the meeting, explain the procedure and split
into small groups of 6-8, each with a leader. Display the
3 People work on their own (or in pairs) quietly for
10-15 minutes answering the questions.
4 Group members read out - and the leader lists - the
results. Items are clarified or challenged if necessary.
5 Group members vote for their top 5 answers to each
6 In plenary session the group leaders display and
explain summary charts, and an overall summary is made if
7 The next stage depends on the content of the
meeting, and where it is in an overall process. People can
be asked to move back into small groups to take forward
particular ideas. Alternatively, people may be given 5
stickers each and asked to vote for their priorities.
8 The meeting should close with a summary of what has
happened and what the next stages are likely to be.
Source Charles Ritchie, CORU.
See also Action plans,
As I learnt very early in
my life in Whitehall, the acid test of any political
question is: What is the alternative? Lord Trent.
Think sideways! Edward de Bono.
`There is no alternative' is seldom true. Options are the
different ways in which you might achieve what you want, or
just take the next step. They are ideas on how to tackle
problems and reach solutions.
In order to generate options use Brainstorming or Nominal
See also Creative thinking, Ideas.
The term 'outcomes' is used
in this guide to describe those results of plans and actions
which you are seeking to achieve. Thinking in terms of
outcomes which you may see, hear, feel as well as the more
abstract aims and objectives should help clarify what to do
to achieve what you want.
The training consultancy
Learning Partnerships offers the following set of questions
to help you develop 'well formed' outcomes - those which are
most likely to be achievable and in tune with your personal
or organisational values.
- What is the outcome I
want for myself? Specify it clearly in positive terms.
Avoid saying 'no more ..', 'stop doing...', 'less
- How will I know when I
have attained it?
- What will I see, hear,
and feel to confirm the achievement of my
- Is it within my direct
control? What can I realistically do to initiate or
maintain this outcome?
- How does it fit in with
my broader outcomes, and the rest of my life?
- What is the ecological
impact of this outcome? If I get it what will that do to
my whole system?
- What resources (in the
broadest sense) do I have available? Can I use them in
- What are the time
- When shall I start? How
long will it take? How will I know it is
It may be necessary, and
well worthwhile, to re-cycle through the steps, as your
outcome becomes better and better defined; and, as the
process proceeds, the outcome may well change.
See also Aims and objectives, Plan, Act
The stake that people have
in an idea, a project or an organisation is fundamental to
their commitment. `Not invented here' is a powerful block to
gaining people's involvement - whether they are councillors,
officers, professionals, business people or residents. For
that reason early brainstorming workshops, where everyone
has a chance to contribute ideas, are important.
See also Control.
A technique in which
features of human and natural interest which local people
value are shown on a map of the locality and publicly
displayed. The maps can be any size, shape, scale or
material - such as paint, ceramic, textiles or photography.
Advice and information is available from the Parish Maps
Project at Common Ground, who publish two useful booklets
Parish Maps and The Parish Boundary. Rural
Community Councils have helped with parish maps by providing
information and support (contact ACRE for local
1 A process during
which individuals, groups and organisations are consulted
about or have the opportunity to become actively involved in
a project or programme of activity.
2 The third phase of the participation process described in
the section It takes time. In this phase
whoever is promoting and managing participation engages with
the range of interests in the community, using methods
described in this guide.
See also Easy
on how to...
Partnerships are formal or
informal arrangements to work together to some joint
purpose. In my view:
- Informal partnerships
work best when the project is specific and can be
achieved relatively quickly: the purpose is clear, and
- Where the task is
complex and long term it may be necessary for formalise
the partnership through some constitution or contractual
arrangement. This provides a structure for
decision-making and agreeing ways of working.
- What doesn't work is to
try and tackle a wide range of issues through an informal
partnership, particularly if the parties do not know each
- On the other hand,
simply setting up a partnership structure doesn't solve
the problems. You still need to work through clarifying
joint purpose, values etc.
See also Acting
This is a simple technique
in which a group uses past shared experiences to think about
Past and future
1 Split into groups of 3 or
2 Provide each group with a large piece of paper label PAST
at the top, and FUTURE at the bottom, and about 20 Post-it
3 Each group member writes what they thought most worthwhile
or successful in the past, and what they should be tackling
in future. One point to a note.
4 People stick notes on the appropriate part of the paper,
and cluster them when they are similar.
5 Small groups report back to the larger group.
Adapted from Training and How to Enjoy It, John
Participation is not
achieved in one survey, leaflet or meeting - it is a
process. People and groups need time to understand what is
proposed, develop trust and work out what to do. This guide
identifies four main phases in a participation process, and
takes them as one of the main dimensions of the framework of
participation. The phases are:
Initiation: something triggers the idea of
participation, and a champion emerges for the process.
Preparation: the practitioner who will manage the
process plans it with the promoter/champion, makes informal
contacts and agrees a strategy.
Participation: materials are produced, events held,
and other participation methods used to involve a range of
Continuation: the proposals, projects or programmes
agreed in the previous phase are taken forward.
The section It
takes time describes
the phases in more detail.
Do what you can, with
what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt.
In order to make regular checks on progress and keep your
plans under review, see development of your participation
process as a cycle:
- Plan how you will
achieve your aims.
- Take action on the basis
of these plans.
- Review progress
- If necessary, modify
- Put the new plans into
action....and so on
Planning for Real is a
powerful technique for involving individuals and groups in
decisions about their neighbourhood, a site or building by
producing a three-dimensional model. The Neighbourhood
Initiatives Foundation has produced a pack for the
1 Everyone from school children to residents and
local workers are encouraged to be involved in the process
of preparing the model. A local skills survey may also be
2 The model is exhibited at different places around
the locality - cafes, libraries, shops and pubs - with
3 Workshops are held at which everyone is encouraged
to place cut-out cards representing uses, problems or other
issues on the model.
Small groups concerned with specific issues re-arrange
suggestions and negotiate with other groups. An action plan
The Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation produces a range of
packs to facilitate the process. Planning for Real and
similar model-based techniques can be very effective in
involving people because they allow 'hands on' responses, do
not rely on written material, and give everyone a say. If
the technique is to be used honestly - rather than to create
false expectations - it is important that:
- People are aware of the
'real world' constraints on making physical and other
- It is clear where
responsibility for decisions lies, and how far the ideas
developed will be taken on by, say, professional
designers who may be involved in the process.
- If there is to be some
degree of community involvement in implementation, some
organisational development takes place.
See also Design Game,
Structures and the book Creating Involvement for
a longer discussion.
I have never regarded
politics as the arena of morals. It is the arena of
Politicians - councillors, MPs - will be important
stakeholders in any participation process. They are in the
business of identifying different interest groups, and
balancing priorities. On the one hand they may be a
stumbling block, concerned about challenges to their power
and status. On the other hand they can be an invaluable
source of contacts and influence. Like any other stakeholder
it is important to see things from their point of view - to
find what they are interested in, what they are seeking to
achieve - and to get to know them informally. Try and judge
their leadership style, and work with them accordingly. You
may get more done if you let them take some credit.
See also Leadership, Stakeholders.
A great technical aid to
collective decision-making, and an improvement on basic
Brainstorming. When running workshops give people pads of
Post-its to write their ideas on, then stick them on a chart
and move them around into groups.
processes lie issues of power and control. For
- Do all key interests
have an equal ability or opportunity to participate if
- Who designs the process,
and to whom are they accountable?
- Who sets the timetable
and controls the funds?
- Who makes the final
Participation techniques can
disempower people if they are used - consciously or
unconsciously - to mask these fundamental questions.
See the longer section on Power and also
Access, Control, Empowerment, Ownership.
The term used in this guide
to signify the person most concerned with how a
participation process is moved forward.
See also Role of the practitioner.
The second phase in the
process of participation described in the section It
takes time. In this phase the practitioner managing
the process should clarify key issues with whoever is
promoting the process, make informal contact with interests
in the community, and develop a strategy.
See also Guidelines
on how to...
Speaking without thinking
is like shooting without taking aim. Spanish
Presentations are speeches with props. These may range from
a simple flip chart to slides and videos. However, the
effectiveness of your presentation will depend more on
careful planning than technology. The checklist below should
- Define your objective.
For example: to inform the audience of our new project
and explain how they can be involved.
- Brainstorm your main
ideas using index cards or, if you have one, an outliner
on a computer. (This is like a word processor with
automatic sub-heading and sub-sub-headings).
- Keep the main ideas to
not more than five if possible. Organise others as
- Put yourself in the
place of the audience and think what impression they will
get and questions they will ask.
- If necessary revise your
presentation with as much emphasis as possible on
benefits for the audience.
- Prepare your visual aids
- flip chart, slides - and a handout.
- Remember KISS - keep it
short, and simple: one main ideas per sheet or slide. Use
short phrases only as prompts to your
Presentations are most
appropriate for informing and consulting rather than
deciding together. However they are an excellent way of
clarifying what you are trying to say - and getting feedback
- at the start of any participation process.
See also Communication, Information, Press
Journalists are bombarded
with press releases and bin most of them. Generally personal
contact produces more result on important issues. However,
you may well need to produce press releases to announce
events, provide background, summarise reports or circulate
speeches in advance.
- Write the release as a
news story covering who, why, what, where, when,
- Use a short headline and
an interesting first paragraph.
- Keep it
- Include lively quotes if
- Use one side of the
paper only, wide margins and double spacing.
- Date the release, and
indicate if there is a time embargo on use.
Provide a contact number for
See also Communication, Five Ws plus H,
The advice in this guide is
based on the following principles:
- Effective participation
requires a planned process in which the key interests
agree on the level of participation which is
- Participation involves
developing agreement on both what is to be achieved - the
outcomes - and how it is to be done - the
- Participation is a
process of learning and development for all concerned. It
- People will only be
involved if they understand each other, have the
confidence to participate, and can see some point to
- The use of short-term
methods and techniques for participation requires
understanding of the overall process, and skilled
application. There are no quick fixes.
Print is not always the most
effective means of communication, but it is important
everything of importance is written down and appropriate
material is freely available. Among the print methods you
may use are:
- Committee reports and
other formal papers. Are they freely available - and if
not, why not? Few people may be interested, but making
them available combats rumours and dispels
- Letterheads for a
project or new organisation. These may seem simple, but
raise important questions of what you are called, where
you are based, and the way you present
- Leaflets and posters.
Useful in two ways. First externally - to promote
meetings or give a simple explanation of your project.
Second internally - challenging you to agree on what you
are trying to say, to whom, and what response you
- Newsletters. Worth doing
if you have new information to give people regularly, or
production is a good way of involving people. Occasional
bulletins linked to events can be effective. Drop
newsletters if they become a chore or the
- Folders. Instead of,
say, a substantial brochure, consider a card folder
containing a newsletter, leaflet, and inserts on
letterheads. It is much easier to update.
- Reports. Putting the
results of a project between covers builds credibility.
Considering the report during a project, not just at the
end, may help you clarify what you are trying to achieve.
If you are running an organisation, take trouble over
your annual report for the same reasons.
In preparing print
- Who your audience
- What response you want
from them: are you informing, consulting,
- The tone of your message
- are you promoting yourself, or offering
- The use of illustration:
pictures are worth quite a few words.
- Style and identity. A
clear message and effective design carries more weight
than waffle in full. Working with a designer will give
you a fresh perspective on what you are trying to
See also Identity,
Priority Search is a survey
technique used by the Priority Search Team, set up by
Sheffield City Council, to conduct consultation exercises.
The five stages are:
1 The key issue or problem is identified with the
client, and a survey plan developed.
2 A focus group of about 20 people representative of
those to be surveyed develops ideas for solutions around the
3 The solutions form the basis for questionnaire
4 The questionnaires are completed by the wider
5 The team analyses the survey results and produces a
report for the client showing the consensus order of
priority for all those surveyed, and the differences, common
themes and trends among different groups in the
See Creating Involvement. for a fuller
You can't find an
appropriate solution unless you are sure that you are
tackling the right problem. A lot of ideas, discussion, and
decision-making suffer from a failure to keep asking: `Is
this really the problem?'
Here's a few ideas on how to
make sure you are clear:
1 Explain the problem to someone else, simply. Listen
to what they say.
2 Consider what would be a solution - what outcome
you are seeking. Where are you now? What are the obstacles
in getting from here to there?
3 Split what you may want from what you really need -
and concentrate on the needs.
4 Do a SWOT analysis.
Problems are what make us
think. In participation processes they are the barriers to
progress, conflicts, uncertainties which make it difficult
to know what to do.
See also Barriers to participation, Decision making,
as a journey
Planning and carrying out a
project or participation process can be seen as a journey.
The key questions, and topics and techniques which may help
answer them are:
1 Where you are now? (Assessment, Stakeholder
2 Where you want to be? (Outcomes,
3 What is the best way to get there? (Action
Planning, Decision Making, Options).
4 What barriers may you face? (Barriers to
5 How you will know how far you have travelled?
(Monitoring and Evaluation,
Although widely used, public
meetings are not the most effective method of involving
people. While they may be useful giving information, and
gaining support around a clear-cut issue, they are poor
vehicles for debate and decision-making. Classic public
meetings with a platform party can easily be dominated by a
small number of people, and become stage sets for
If you do hold a public
- Ensure good preparation
- Research local concerns
and focus on these rather than generalised
- Keep any presentations
short with opportunities for audience
- Consider running
workshop groups with report back, rather than keeping
everyone together all the time.
- Choose someone
independent and locally respected as chair.
- Ensure the venue is
- Build on the
See also Access, Five Ws
and H, Meetings, Presentations, Publicity, Workshops.
The book Creating Involvement provides further
guidance on planning and running public meetings.
There are three key
questions to ask before embarking on any publicity:
1 Who are you trying to reach? For example, members
of an organisation, the general public, sponsors, media,
2 What result do you want? For example, opinions,
volunteers, funding, support.
3 How will you respond? For example, personal
contact, leaflets, events or in other ways.
The answers to these questions will determine your choice of
publicity method - for example, exhibitions, media, events,
print or audio-visual.
See also Communications, Identity and Image, Five Ws plus
'If one does not know to
which port one is steering, no wind is favourable.'
A statement of purpose, or mission statement, is a summary
in a sentence or two of your intention - your aims and
objectives. It may be the broad statement of the reason for
a project or a group's existence. Statements of purpose may
start out as broad intentions like 'we aim to create a
better place to live and work'. They become meaningful when
the aim is followed with statements of how: for example 'by
providing advise and support for practical environmental
projects'. There may be a number of these 'how to'
statements which are objectives. If they are measurable,
they become targets. Purpose will be important on two
- In clarifying why you
are carrying out a participation process.
- In reaching a common
view among those involved about what result - outcome -
Creating a statement of
This may be done directly by
working as individuals and a group on the statement, or by
working up from options and objectives. To create a
Work individually to write down one or two sentences
expressing your intention.
Pool these and amalgamate by identifying areas of agreement,
and discussing disagreements.
To work from options:
- Brainstorm specific
ideas to achieve your aim.
- Summarise 8-10 of these
on cards, with a paragraph description of
- As a group place them in
order of priority.
- Reflect on the common
theme which lies behind the projects, and the criteria
you used to priorities.
- Develop the statement of
purpose around the common theme, and a statement of
values which reflects the criteria.
See also Aims and
objectives, Outcomes, Vision.
Enlisting the support of
people for a project, or their membership of a group or
organisation, is most likely to be effective if
- Put yourself in their
shoes - what benefit are you offering them?
- Provide a chance for
people to think through what is involved, perhaps in a
- Ask existing members to
bring friends along.
See also Barriers to participation,
Knowledge is a process of
piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification. Martin
The research you may need to do in planning and starting a
participation process will depend in part of the level of
participation you are considering.
- For levels of
information and consultation you will need to research
and prepare clear proposals early in the process to put
to other interests.
- If you are aiming for
Deciding or Acting Together, it will be more appropriate
to delay research into options until this can be agreed
- If you are supporting
community initiatives, you may wish to support other
Whichever level you are
working at it will be necessary to find out who are the key
See also Community, Stakeholder analysis.
In a participation process
you may need two sets of resources: first the skills, money
and equipment to run the process, and second, the resources
for any project or organisation that develops from the
See also Budgets for participation, Fundraising,
The go-between wears out
a thousand sandals. Japanese proverb.
Much confusion arises when people are not clear about the
intentions and responsibilities of practitioners involved in
participation processes. For example 'enabler' sounds fine,
but people will be mistrustful if they feel that as well as
facilitating the discussion you are making decisions on who
gets what resources, and have your own agenda. If you are
seeking to empower people, it is particularly unhelpful to
act as a spokesperson for a group negotiating with
authorities, or to act as go-between. It prevents the
different interests getting to know each other and
developing mutual trust, and can lead to filtering of
information and closing options.
See also Enabling.
responsibilities in groups
One of the many benefits of
working in a group is to be able to share responsibilities
with different people undertaking different parts of the
work. You may all want to have an equal say, but even groups
that work as collectives find it easier to have different
individuals taking responsibility for co-ordinating a
particular area of work. Whilst every organisation has
different needs and different roles, the following checklist
may be useful.
- Chairperson for the main
- Chairperson for working
You may want to rotate some
of these roles around the group.
Marilyn Taylor, of the
School for Advanced Urban Studies, suggests that in planning
participation a local authority should see those involved in
three possible roles:
- As citizens who have
certain political rights and duties, including the right
to vote. As such they have an interest in every part of
the policies and operation of any authority.
- As paymasters, people
contribute a significant amount of the authority's
finances and have a right to call the authority to
account for the way it spends their money.
- As consumers, people use
different services paid for by the local authority and
sometimes provided by them (e.g. parks, education,
highways, leisure, libraries, housing, waste disposal