On engagement methods

There is no single new model of the community-institution relationship. Instead, there are a variety of forms of public engagement that can be used depending on the unique combination of context, challenges, issues and assets in question. This broad ‘family’ of service design, partnership and public engagement approaches, can be understood as a spectrum – […]

On embedding an engagement culture

A core challenge for any organisation seeking closer engagement with communities is how to move beyond short- to medium-term initiatives that are largely focused on existing needs in the area and into a deeper, more systemic approach to engagement. Based on learning and practice I’ve identified a number of factors that are worth considering in […]

On investing in communities

The role of community engagement and consultation on the part of public services and charities has a long and chequered past. Communities in receipt of area-based Government funding, designed to address the causes of deprivation and disadvantage, were required to be involved to varying degrees in the allocation of that funding. Local government has long […]

On partnerships for transformation

At first glance, this might be seen as an odd time to be looking at innovation in public sector partnerships as councils and the wider sector has experienced almost a decade of significant, sustained funding cuts. Yet although necessity can be the mother of invention, it does not always follow that a necessity driven by […]

On meetings

Different people use meetings in different ways, and dysfunctional meetings are as often a product of clashes of intention as they are clashes of purpose or personality. Let’s ignore, for now, those one-on-one meetings, staff check-ins or networking calls and rapid-fire stand-ups when, of course, some preparation is needed. I’m focusing instead on those meetings […]

On being separated by a common language

I remember when the challenges of talking a common language across public services was first brought home to me. I was talking to our Strategic Partnership of public sector agencies about the council’s upcoming CPA inspection and how the Audit Commission would want to talk to partners. To me it was obvious that I meant Comprehensive Performance […]

On co-operation or collaboration

I long mused about the difference between cooperation and collaboration as they are two words often used interchangeably. I was watching a police drama and realised that criminals never collaborate with the police. They cooperate. In doing so they get something and the police get something. Normally a trade-off between information given and potential consequences […]