Tag Archives: echo

April 2011 update

extract from Our Society in Dudley Borough discussion, posted on 18 April 2011 to http://www.oursociety.org.uk/group/dudley/forum

We are trying to strike a balance through Our Society activity between projects which can provide evidence and learning and test the changing relationship between communities and the public sector and work towards longer term culture change. A problem with projects is that they can be piecemeal and not lead to whole system changes, whereas a difficulty with seeking to address whole system change is around issues of power.

So to ensure something tangible in the short-term we are looking at concrete project-based activity, some of it already underway, some of it arising in response to the Localism agenda and changes in legislation. Activities we are interested in are the asset transfer of Lye and Wollescote Chapels, and interest expressed in taking on management of a local Youth Centre. We will develop activity around openness to community influence with colleagues in the Council’s Planning Policy Team, using the echo framework.

We are also looking at changing hearts and minds, steps in this process include discussions at the next Dudley Community Partnership Board meeting on 19 May, potentially work with elected members, and Community Rights Made Real.

And in order to highlight and celebrate the fantastic things which our communities already do, Dudley CVS is leading on the development of an online space for Our Society related discussion in Dudley and support to local groups to promote their achievements. Dudley CVS is also developing the social media skills of our local groups, clubs and societies through the launch of monthly social media surgeries. The first one was held on 14 April and was a resounding success. See the video below, my blog and a a post by Nick Booth on the Podnosh website.

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March 2011 update

extract from Our Society in Dudley Borough discussion, posted on 13 March 2011 to http://www.oursociety.org.uk/group/dudley/forum

On 9 March Dudley’s Stronger Communities Steering Group met and discussed progress and plans in relation to Our Society. The following is my summary of the discussion.

Strategic buy in
Support for strategic approach to Our Society from Local Strategic Partnership Board: it was confirmed that there had been strong support from the Board and they were very pleased with the approach.

Existing work and tools

  • The Planning Policy Team would like to know more about Voice, which may help them especially in the light of anticipated changes in legislation.
  • Planning Policy, Urban Design and the Sustainability Team are interested in using echo, possibly together, and are keen to see if it can help to unblock opportunities in policy such as site development.
  • West Midlands Police are also interested in working with echo.
  • Dudley CVS confirmed that Building Blocks support can be provided to social enterprises.
  • It was confirmed that the Take Part learning programmes address issues around inclusion.

Assets
There was discussion around the different strands of work in relation to assets, and the need for a strategic approach. An asset mapping and rating activity being undertaken will help to reduce unnecessary public sector spend on assets, hopefully diverting spend to service delivery. This is different to asset transfer activity, which has a focus on empowerment. There is a also a need to look as the value of a range of buildings such as community centres, many are marginal, relocating public servants to them could help to keep them open and serving communities.

Dudley MBC response to Big Society
Dudley MBC is developing a framework for their wider Big Society strategy, to include a vision of what the council should be, a collective understanding of how Our Society compliments this, and a structured way for each core service to review services in relation to defined outcomes.

Timescales

  • Dosti/DudleyCVS to host an event for the voluntary, community and faith sector to discuss Our Society and ways that they would like to take it forward – anticipated date: early May
  • Dudley MBC to agree response to Big Society
  • Dudley Community Partnership Board to have a meeting focusing on Our Society in May
  • Task groups to take forward activity to be established in June.

A focus on tackling inequalities is to be explicit in plans.

Community Organisers
Locality are inviting expressions of interest for host organisations (see http://www.dta.org.uk/whatsnew/hottopics/communityorganisers) Dudley CVS will investigate this further and may submit an expression of interest

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