Structures as barriers

Structures designed to engage people and communities sometimes don’t work as well as they could.

…lots of insensitive community engagement

Meetings are held in ways which exclude people from taking part and which prioritise the involvement of some people over others.

Consultation is supposed to engage everyone but it’s done backwards;

…officers make the decision about the path they want to go along, then go out to consultation and then do it anyway….

There is often a suspicion of independent voluntary and community organisations; sometimes they are seen as collaborators if they involve councillors and sometimes they are seen as rivals. This is especially true for the well organised voluntary and social enterprise sectors.

Local Joint Committee meetings and PACT meetings are usually fairly formal meetings linking to wider public sector structures. This space is ‘owned’ by the local state and consequently there is an unequal balance of power between people/community organisations and public sector representatives.

Consideration needs to be given to how best to engage different groups and disaffected people; how to tackle the inertia of both the community and public sectors in an ongoing strategic way and not just around a single issue.

This is the last section of the research report – if you haven’t already we suggest you take a look at the Councillors Guide