Dudley is one of seven areas selected to be involved in research as part of national project funded by the government called Inspiring Democracy.
The project focuses on building relationships between citizens, community based organisations and elected members working together to influence local political agendas. In each of the seven areas across England a different look will be taken at aspects of councillor and community organisation/s relationships and objectives.
A focus group for interested members of community groups and organisations in Dudley Borough will be held on the evening of 7 March 2012, venue tba. The focus group will be run by Sue Gorbing from community development specialists changes who have been contracted to deliver this project. Invitations to the focus group will be circulated to community groups over the coming days.
The Inspiring Democracy project will lead to a resource being produced to enable Elected Members and community organisations to think about and enact their roles in a more constructive way. Everyone taking part in the research will be invited to an event on 25 April (likely to be in Birmingham) and have an opportunity to feed back on the draft guidance and input to the final write-up.
The other research areas are: Wolverhampton, Solihull, Shropshire, Preston, Keighley (Bradford) and Wiltshire.
I’ve been working with Donna Roberts from Dudley MBC and Keeley Wright, a volunteer with Dudley CVS to review lots of different reports and notes from local activities to draw out ideas about how we could improve the ways that people and communities can have influence in response to changes in the public sector (such as the NHS and the council).
We would like to bring this together into a practical guide for colleagues, and have invited members of the online Our Society network to help us to do this. It’s free and simple to join the Our Society network, so if you’d like to get involved, here is the group for the development of the Guide (you will need to join the network and then the group in order to add comments).
Our Society: A Guide for Dudley is likely to include the following chapters:
- Introduction – policy context and drivers, local activity etc. and articulation of a vision and an approach
- Changing roles – describing new and emerging roles, skills required to undertake them, support which might be needed and practical steps to move forward
- Rethinking structures as networks and systems – evidence of this shift, local examples, online examples … and practical steps to shifting thinking
- Identifying existing and new social assets – approaches to recognising and mapping assets (by which we mean people and skills as well as bricks and mortar), examples, practical support and advice
- Methods – toolkits, frameworks, knowledge hub, and more
- Practical steps which Dudley can take towards an empowering response to public service reform, localism, ‘big society’ etc.
Please feel free to post comments and ideas here as well as to the Our Society network.