Effective engagement with communities is essential for local authorities. However reductions in budgets for services often means frontline members face challenges to their role and the authority needs to rely on communities more to solve their own problems. Traditional models of consultation and engagement do not address the current dilemmas enough, yet in this changing and challenging environment, the ability of elected members and officers to involve and empower communities is now more important than ever.
The seminar will help participants to strengthen their understanding of current approaches to engagement. The seminar includes:
- Big Society and Localism agendas – where are they now?
- Examples of different approaches to community engagement from a variety of local authorities in England and Scotland
- Comparing different engagement approaches and considering their different advantages and disadvantages
- Looking at the roles councillors can adopt to develop new relationships with communities
- A practical session on the use of social media.
This is a down to earth seminar that will prompt frank debate and identify key issues facing frontline councillors. It will give participants plenty of opportunity to explore different approaches, which they can apply in their work as officers or local councillors.
10:15 Introduction – aims
10:20 The current context – challenges and dilemmas
10:40 Methods of engagement in the current context
11:00 Examples of current approaches – member led partnerships in West Cheshire
12:00 Current approaches in localism – neighbourhood planning and the right to bid
12:30 The new relationship – using social media
13:30 Current approaches: Example of a resident led partnership – Big Local in Blackburn
14:00 Example of building capacity of community leaders led by the voluntary sector – Wakefield
14:30 Example of building capacity of community leaders led by the local authority – Scotland
15:00 A strategic approach to engagement?
15:25 The meaning of empowerment
15:50 Concluding points
This programme is correct at the time of publication but may be altered to reflect speaker changes that are beyond our control.