• Mainly about engagement and collaboration using social media and events, with some asides on living in London. More about David Wilcox and also how the blog started.
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Great article David, lots of food for thought. Great also that govt is understanding the roles of participation.

My only one reservation to their agenda, that real participation comes from a grass roots upward way. Meaningful participation is always less successful when structured or decided it needs to take place from the top down. Think how charities often start, because like-minded people saw a need, not because a government contract/agreement decided the cause was needed! I have seen this in reality with some of the Government targets and 'contracts' re volunteering and participation for example, down here where I am based.
As you also mention take up and sign up takes a long time when derived from a top down approach rather than a needs led grass roots approach!

Let's hope that the RSA can be an exemplary case study one day soon - That would be encouraging to see.
Thanks for another thoughtful posting!

The biggest challenge is to keep expectations at reasonable levels...as in the short term only those who want to be engaged will be.

But as this moves from the 'early adopter' arena towards the much greater majority, I am sure it will prove to be extaordinary and wonderful :)

Laura, Tessy - thanks. Any ideas on how any body promoting participation (whether RSA or public agency) can best best help develop the climate for involvement? Personally I think this is about small ways of reaching out, not just set-piece workshop etc

Hello David et al.

Having spent much of today working on an updated version of Hear by Right - probably /the/ standards framework for organisations in England seeking to involve young people in participative ways - it struck me that I've not seen a more general purpose equivelent for Adults, and that, in fact, such a framework would be really useful.

The learning behind Hear by Right is that engagement has to be built in, not bolted on, and that involves some pretty big changes across an organisation. Some aspects of Hear by Right are specific to young people (e.g. asking organisations to endorse the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) - but most of its 49 indicators (based around 7 standards) could apply to any organisation seeking to create deep levels of stakeholder engagement.

A sneek preview of the new Hear by Right site (hopefully released properly next month) where you can browse the standards here: http://hbr.obshost.co.uk/standards

It's worth noting - organisations that started using Hear by Right in its first version around 2003 still often find themselves at the 'emerging' level of embedding young people's participation in decision making. Not that they've failed to make progress - but that the journey of creating organisations that are truly participative, that change their power structures, and that empower stakeholders to influence change - is a very long and very tricky one.

It doesn't only involve a diverse range of projects... but involves getting systems, structures, policies and staffing right, and involves the whole organisation, not just the people who run the engagement events.

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