Pages prepared by David
Wilcox August 19 1996.
The Guide to Effective Participation
This is the contents and main section of the Guide with references on to
the A-Z of Effective Participation. Back to
the Communities Online Forum.
- Foreword and Introduction
- A guided tour
- 10 key ideas about participation
- Easy answers
- `What we need is a public meeting'
- `A good leaflet, video and exhibition will get
the message across'
- `Commission a survey'
- `Appoint a liaison officer'
- `Work through the voluntary sector'
- `Set up a consultative committee'
- `There's no time to do proper consultation'
- `Run a Planning for Real session'
- `It's technical - requiring a professional solution'
- `Bring in consultants expert in community participation'
- A framework for participation
- Three dimensions of the framework
- The nature of effective participation
- Where do you stand?
- Choosing a level - taking a stance
- Stance 1: Information
- Stance 2: Consultation
- Stance 3: Deciding together
- Stance 4: Acting together
- Stance 5: Supporting local initiatives
- It takes time
- Signposts from theory to practice
- The nature of signposting
- The starting point - problems
- The end point - participation methods
- The bridge - key issues
- A community participation questions set
- How to..
- ...clarify why you want to involve others
- ...understand your role
- ...decide where you stand
- ...prepare for participation
- ...choose participation methods
- ...develop support within your organisation
- ... and develop your skills as an enabler
- ...choose an appropriate structure
- Useful publications
Over the past ten years there has been a growing tendency to attempt to
get the community either individually or collectively to become involved
in the delivery of services at a local level.
The citizens charter, community care, the Housing Acts and City Challenge
all offer the community an opportunity to play a role as either partners,
providers or consumers. However, it is seductively easy to rush into participation
that can be fraught with dangers.
Before getting involved both the service providers and the community would
do well to pause for thought. What level of participation do we want? What
are the pitfalls? What is the best way of going about it? These are all
questions that the community and the service providers (statutory as well
as voluntary) should seek to answer before embarking on a participatory
Too often in the past the road to participation has been paved with good
intentions only to lead up time consuming and wasteful dead-ends which result
in disillusionment and resentment for all concerned.
Participation, like democracy, has meant many things to many people. The
opportunities for participation are there to be grasped but only if all
those involved have a common understanding and share a common language.
This guide provides both a theoretical framework for common understanding
and a dictionary to facilitate the dialogue that can lead to successful
participation. The guide also provides practical advice on tools and techniques
that can be used to identify blocks and find solutions.
Reflecting on my own experience of working as a local authority community
worker, a consultant and now in a new university I can readily see how the
guide could be useful in a variety of ways and settings.
For instance, in teaching the guide could provide a starting point to examine
the whole concept of participation and the potential pitfalls. In a consultancy/training
role the guide could be used to assist the client establish where they are
on the `map' of participation and also where they consider the other players
to be. This analysis should provide the basis for more reasoned actions.
For the local authority officer the guide provides a comprehensive description
of the implications of participation at whatever level. This can be immensely
useful when convincing sceptical managers and councillors that consultation
is more than just talking to people.
One of the most common arguments against community participation is that
it is costly and time consuming. However, no-one has yet attempted to calculate
the costs in terms of time and lost good will of getting it wrong.
TQM (Total Quality Management) is based on the simple notion that it is
more cost effective to get it right first time than correct mistakes later.
This guide provides some guidelines for TQM in participation.
The toolkit part of the pack provides a range of techniques and tools from
which organisations and individuals can select. The tools assist in identifying
blockages and suggest ways forward.
Careful selection and application of the most appropriate tool is an essential
part of any job, but organisations using a tool for the first time may need
to seek advice. The guide provides some signposts to further information
about the tools and their use.
The relationship between providers and customers in the public social services
is becoming an increasingly important one. Government is pressing the case
for participation and partnership in urban regeneration. This book provides
a guide to understanding and developing that relationship.
Management in the Voluntary Sector Unit
Leeds Metropolitan University
This guide is intended for the growing number of people who say `I believe
in the idea of community participation - but how do you do it?' Practitioners
who are asking, for example:
The idea and funding for the guide came from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation,
who promote and fund a wide range of research and development projects that
pose these types of problems.
- How do you run a public meeting which doesn't turn into a slanging
- When do you use surveys, and when do you get residents on a housing
estate involved in building a model of the future they would like?
- How do you deal with councillors who talk about participation, but
are anxious not to lose control or status?
- What is the difference between consultation, participation, partnership
The original aim was to provide a quick overview of participation and then
signpost readers to techniques.
However, it rapidly became clear that while there is plenty of theory about
participation, there aren't many cookbooks easily available. In order to
write the guide it was necessary to build a theoretical framework - a signposting
system - and then summarise key topics and techniques in an A-Z of effective
A health warning
Although this guide draws on a wide range of expertise, and drafts have
been read by experienced practitioners, it hasn't been tested as a whole
in the field. All the techniques are drawn from practice, but some come
from Operational Research, some from community development, some from commercial
consultancy and training. It is a mixed menu. I hope readers will let me
know what works well, and what needs improvement, so that I can develop
an improved later edition. See the inside front cover for details on how
I hope it is also clear from the text that techniques - however useful -
are no substitue for the longer-term programmes of training and support
likely to be needed when local groups take on major projects.
I have sprinkled quotations through the guide to show that few ideas are
new, and they have often been expressed rather better elsewhere. I am conscious
that most are from dead white men, who are strongly represented in the handy
directories from which they were drawn. I hope readers can offer some more
Who are you?
The guide is aimed mainly at people who have the task of starting and managing
participation processes, or who control funds and other resources.
Who am I?
I started my working life as a journalist, mainly writing about planning,
housing, transport and development in London. For the past 15 years I have
specialised in consultancy and training for groups setting up partnership
organisations like development trusts, and in designing national programmes
to support them. The guide reflects this background and approach rather
than, for example, social or health care.
Use of material
The guide is intended to be a resource which groups and organisations can
develop for their own purposes, and you are free to copy and use material
in the guide for internal training. I would be interested in any examples
of this use, together with comments and additions for a later edition.
If you would like to use the material more extensively, please contact me
at the address on the inside cover.
The front of the guide is a mixture of theory and practice which signposts
readers to topics and methods for participation in the A-Z at the back.
It doesn't read like a step-by-step manual or cookbook for several reasons:
A guided tour
- Every situation is different, and while there are some common guidelines
and pitfalls, you have to work out your own menu and which recipes are appropriate.
- Effective and successful participation is about style and approach
as much as particular recipes.
- Different methods suit different people.
The main theoretical ideas are summarised under 10 key issues of participation.
This theory is developed in more detail in later sections:
- I have adapted Sherry Arnstein's idea of a ladder of participation
in which the rungs are different levels of participation that authorities
may allow to citizens. Are people being manipulated, or offered some control
over their lives?
- Perhaps the most important issues then are who's who - and who decides.
Who controls the money, the design of projects, how services are run? What
are the different interests in the community? And who decides their levels
on the ladder? These are the stakeholders.
- This guide is written mainly for people - here termed practitioners
- who have to make those decisions and work with the different interests.
- This participation process takes place over time, and four main phases
are identified: initiation, preparation, participation, continuation.
- Different interests may seek different levels of participation, and
be involved at different phases of participation.
- The commitment - or apathy - of different interests will depend mainly
on the ownership they have of any ideas, and the involvement they are offered
in putting ideas into practice.
A Framework for participation brings together the ideas about levels,
phases and stakeholders.
Where do you stand? develops each of the levels in more detail, with
guidelines on when each may be most appropriate, and the methods you might
It takes time explores the phases of the process from initiation
through to continuation, and places strong emphasis on the need for preparation
before you start participation proper.
Signposts from theory to practice identifies some common issues and
questions which keep cropping up in participation processes, and uses them
to provide some signposts to topics and techniques in the A-Z section.
Signposts is the most complex of the sections, and is included so that you
see the ideas which underlie the other sections.
The first practical section - Easy Answers - comes directly after the Key
Issues to provide some light relief and a flavour of the difficulties that
off-the-shelf recipes can produce. Later there are two sections which offer
Guidelines on how to... provides some overall guidelines for participation,
then deals with the main tasks in the participation process from the point
of view of someone planning and managing the
The A-Z section is a mix of topics and methods which aims to provide a pool
of ideas and practical advice to supply more detail for the theory and practice
Using the guide
The guide is not designed to be read through from front to back - you should
be able to dip in to it and find cross-references to other sections which
will lead you to areas of interest. There is deliberately quite a lot of
repetition to allow for this. However, I suggest:
The menu bar below - which appears throughout the Guide - should help with
- Read the sections on 10 Key Issues and the Framework before tackling
any of the practical detailed sections.
- Use Easy Answers as a way to find some pointers to key practical issues
in the A-Z.
- Only try and use the Guidelines on how to ... section when you feel
familiar with most of the rest of the guide.
This guide is a compilation of other people's ideas, brought together during
development of the guide, and from work on consultancy projects over the
past 15 years.
The suggestion for the guide, came from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation,
where Dr Janet Lewis and John Low have provided continuing support and encouragement.
After seminars with practitioners, an editorial group of Ann Holmes, Joan
Kean, Charles Ritchie and Jerry Smith worked with me to create the main
theoretical framework for the guide. They have provided continuing inspiration
Charles Ritchie and Joan Kean also provided some of the techniques, and
thinking on how these could be signposted. Brian Batson provided additional
techniques and comments, and Christine Flecknoe several of the topics. Annie
Rosewarne, Steve Skinner, Steve Trivett, and Sarah del Tufo made helpful
comments on drafts. Brian Sayer gave early advice on the overall structure
and editorial approach.
A seminar of practitioners organised by Jeff Bishop and Geoff Caplan in
Glasgow in 1993 provided valuable material for the sections on participation
My clients over the years have also helped develop this guide. In particular,
the ideas on levels of participation, and the techniques relevant to them,
were developed with Les Robinson and and Diane Warburton for St Helen's
borough council ten years ago.
Apologies to anyone whose assistance I have not acknowledged. Any errors
© David Wilcox. However, material from this guide may be quoted in
other publications or used, with attribution, for training purposes. I plan
to develop a later edition and would be glad to receive comments, contributions,
and ideas for further development of the material.
13 Pelham Square
Brighton BN1 4ET, UK
Telephone +44 (0)1273 677377
Fax +44 (0)1273 677377273 677379
Published by Partnership Books.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has supported this project as part of its
programme of research and innovative development projects, which it hopes
will be of value to policy makers and practitioners. The facts presented
and views expressed in this report, however, are those of the authors and
not necessarily those of the Foundation.
Behind the detailed suggestions in the guide about how to manage participation
effectively are 10 key ideas. Each of these is also dealt with in the A-Z
and in other sections.
10 key ideas about participation
Level of participation
Sherry Arnstein, writing in 1969 about citizen involvement in planning processes
in the United States, described a ladder of participation with eight steps.
I have altered this model to five stances:
- Deciding together
- Acting togetherSupporting independent community interests
I do not suggest any one stance is better than any other - it is rather
a matter of `horses for courses'. Different levels are appropriate at different
times to meet the expectations of different interests.
Here's the original Arnstein model.
on to the five stance model
1 Manipulation and 2 Therapy. Both are non participative. The aim
is to cure or educate the participants. The proposed plan is best and the
job of participation is to achieve public support by public relations.
3 Informing. A most important first step to legitimate participation.
But too frequently the emphasis is on a one way flow of information. No
channel for feedback.
4 Consultation. Again a legitimate step - attitude surveys, neighbourhood
meetings and public enquiries. But Arnstein still feels this is just a window
5 Placation. For example, co-option of hand-picked 'worthies' onto
committees. It allows citizens to advise or plan ad infinitum but retains
for power holders the right to judge the legitimacy or feasibility of the
6 Partnership. Power is in fact redistributed through negotiation
between citizens and power holders. Planning and decision-making responsibilities
are shared e.g. through joint committees.
7 Delegated power. Citizens holding a clear majority of seats on
committees with delegated powers to make decisions. Public now has the power
to assure accountability of the programme to them.
8 Citizen Control. Have-nots handle the entire job of planning, policy
making and managing a programme e.g. neighbourhood corporation with no intermediaries
between it and the source of funds.
Initiation and process
This guide deals with situations where someone, or some organisation, seeks
to involve others at some level - that is, participation doesn't just happen,
it is initiated. Someone (termed here a practitioner) then manages a process
over time, and allows others involved more or less control over what happens.
In the guide the process is described during four phases: Initiation - Preparation
- Participation - Continuation.
The initiator is in a strong position to decide how much or how little control
to allow to others - for example, just information, or a major say in what
is to happen. This decision is equivalent to taking a stand on the ladder
- or adopted a stance about the level of participation.
Power and purpose
Understanding participation involves understanding power: the ability of
the different interests to achieve what they want. Power will depend on
who has information and money. It will also depend on people's confidence
and skills. Many organisations are unwilling to allow people to participate
because they fear loss of control: they believe there is only so much power
to go around, and giving some to others means losing your own.
However, there are many situations when working together allows everyone
to achieve more than they could on their own. These represent the benefits
Role of the practitioner
This guide is written mainly for people who are planning or managing participation
processes - here termed `practitioners'. Because these practitioners control
much of what happens it is important they constantly think about the part
they are playing.
Stakeholders and community
I think that `stakeholders' is one piece of jargon which really helps our
understanding of participation. On the other hand `community' can be a hindrance.
A stakeholder is anyone who has a stake in what happens. The term forces
us to think about who will be affected by any project, who controls the
information, skills and money needed, who may help and who may hinder. It
does not follow that everyone affected has an equal say; the idea of the
ladder is to prompt thinking about who has most influence.
Community is a problem term if it is used as a blanket description for `all
those other people'. There are many communities, defined by, for example,
people's shared interests, locality, age or gender. The `community' which
participates will depend on the project or programme because different people
are interested in different issues. Where community is used in the guide
it is shorthand for communities.
Partnership, like community, is a much abused term. I think it is useful
when a number of different interests willingly come together formally or
informally to achieve some common purpose. The partners don't have to be
equal in skills, funds or even confidence, but they do have to trust each
other and share some commitment. In participation processes - as in our
personal and social lives - building trust and commitment takes time.
Commitment is the other side of apathy: people are committed when they want
to achieve something, apathetic when they don't. But what leads to commitment?
Not, in my experience, telling people `you ought to care', inviting them
to public meetings or bombarding them with glossy leaflets. I think people
care about what they are interested in, and become committed when they feel
they can achieve something. Hard selling won't achieve that. If people are
apathetic about your proposals, it may simply be that they don't share your
interests or concerns.
Ownership of ideas
People are most likely to be committed to carry something through if they
have a stake in the idea. One of the biggest barriers to action is `not
invented here'. The antidote is to allow people to say `we thought of that'.
In practice that means running brainstorming workshops, helping people think
through the practicality of ideas, and negotiating with others a result
which is acceptable to as many people as possible.
Clearly this isn't possible if you are simply providing people with information
about your own ideas, or consulting them on a limited number of ideas of
your own. Apathy is directly proportional to the stake people have in ideas
Confidence and capacity
Ideas and wish lists are little use if they cannot be put into practice.
The ability to do that depends as much on people's confidence and skills
as it does on money. Many participation processes involve breaking new ground
- tackling difficult projects and setting up new forms of organisations.
It is unrealistic to expect individuals or small groups suddenly to develop
the capability to make complex decisions and become involved in major projects.
They need training - or better still the opportunity to learn formally and
informally, to develop confidence, and trust in each other.
Each or these terms is dealt with in more detail in the A-Z of effective
The next sections
Each or the terms above is dealt with in more detail in the A-Z
section, and you may wish to skip the following sections and browse
the A-Z, then return to some of the theory.
The first theoretical section, A framework for participation,
takes the revised ladder of participation, and extends it across time -
the process - and across interests - the stakeholders.
Top of Key ideas
Faced with ideas like levels of participation, different phases and roles
you may be tempted by some quick fixes for your participation problems.
These can bring their own difficulties. For example:
You will certainly need to meet the public, but the conventional set-up
with a fixed agenda, platform and rows of chairs is a stage set for conflict.
Among the problems are:
`What we need is a public meeting'
As an alternative:
- The audience will contain many different interests, with different
levels of understanding and sympathy. It is difficult to know how to pitch
- It is very difficult to keep to a fixed agenda - people may bring
up any issue they chose and you just look authoritarian if you try and shut
- Few people get a chance to have a say.
See Access, Public meetingsWorkshopsin the A-Z
- Identify and meet key interests informally.
- Run workshop sessions for different interest groups.
- Bring people together after the workshop sessions in a report-back
seminar. By then everyone should have some ideas in common.
- If you must do a one-off meeting, split people into small groups early
on and run a report back in the second half.
- Make clear in all publicity that it is an ideas session with group
- Plan the layout of the room(s) so you avoid `them and us', and can
split easily into groups.
- In short, make a public meeting the last thing you do, not the first.
These may well be useful tools, but it is easy to be beguiled by the products
and forget what you are trying to achieve.
`A good leaflet, video and exhibition will
get the message across'
Before you brief the production team first consider:
See Communications, Where do you stand?, Videos
- What level of participation are you aiming for? If it is anything
more than information-giving, you are looking for feedback and possibly
other people's ideas and commitment. High-cost presentations suggest you
have made up your mind.
- What response do you want - and can you handle it?
- Could you achieve more with lower-cost materials and more face-to-face
A questionnaire study and/or in-depth discussion groups can be an excellent
ways to start a participation process. On the other hand they can be a magnificent
way of avoiding the issue of what you want by asking other people what they
want. Fine, if you are then able to deliver.
`Commission a survey'
Bear in mind:
- Surveys require expert design and piloting to be useful.
- They are only as good as the brief you provide. Why do you want a
- It is unwise to jump from an analysis of the results straight to proposed
solutions, particularly if you want the commitment of other interests. The
analysis will inevitably be an abstraction, and the ideas will not be `owned'
by anyone unless people have a chance to think them through.
- In planning a survey: first put yourself on the receiving end of the
questioning, and second design it as part of a process which will lead through
to some action.
That may be a useful step, but not if everyone else thinks it is the end
of their involvement in the process. Are you just trying to pass the buck
to someone else ?
`Appoint a liaison officer'
Aim to empower your liaison officer. Consider:
See It takes time.
- Do they have the necessary skills and resources for the job?
- Will they get the backing of other colleagues?
- Are they being expected to occupy conflicting roles - that is, wear
too many hats? It is difficult to present yourself as a neutral facilitator
if you are also making recommendations on funding. The temptation to manipulate
agendas is strong.
Voluntary bodies are a major route to communities of interest, and may have
people and resources to contribute to the participation process. However,
they are not `the community'.
`Work through the voluntary sector'
Treat voluntary organisations as another sectoral interest in the community
- albeit a particularly important one:
- There will be many small community groups who are not part of the
more formalised voluntary sector.
- Voluntary groups, like any organisations, will have their own agendas
- funding targets to achieve, issues to pursue. They are not a neutral.
See Community, Stakeholders, Voluntary sector.
- Check out organisations with a number of different sources. Having
said all that, voluntary organisations will have a wealth of experience
and are essential allies. They've been through many of the problems of involving
Some focus for decision-making will be necessary in anything beyond simple
consultation processes. However:
`Set up a consultative committee'
- Even if a committee is elected or drawn from key interest groups it
will not be a channel for reaching most people.
- People invited to join a committee may feel uncomfortable about being
seen as representatives.
- The committee can just reinforce `them and us' attitudes if some members
have more power than others.
See Committees, Workshops.
- A group which helps you plan the participation process.
- Surveys, workshops and informal meetings to identify other people
who might become actively involved.
- A range of groups working on specific issues.
- Defining any central group in terms of the longer term aim. For example,
if a Management Board or Trust is a possibility, you are looking for a `shadow'
That may be the case if the timetable is imposed externally - or do you
feel that consultation will raise questions you can't answer? Beware: the
questions won't go away, and you could be forced into a climb-down later
on in the face of protest.
`There's no time to do proper consultation'
If the timetable is genuinely tight:
See It takes time, Timeline.
- Explain the pressure that you are under.
- At least produce a leaflet or send out a letter.
- Run a crash programme for those interested - perhaps over a weekend.
Special `packaged' techniques can be very powerful ways of getting people
involved. However there are horses for courses - no one technique is applicable
to all situations. Are you just falling into the technology trap - believing
that a gadget will fix the problem? This guide aims to suggest what is appropriate
`Run a Planning for Real session'
See Planning for Real.
If you believe that, why consult anyone? Before following this arrogant
course, reflect on the many examples of disaster and political miscalculation
where the experts knew best.
`It's technical - requiring a professional
Before leaving it to the experts consider:
See Problem clarification, Decision-making.
- Are you sure you know what the problem is - would everyone else agree?
- Is there really only one way of fixing things?
- Do you need the support of other interests to carry the proposals
through? If you don't give them an early say in the solution they could
become part of the problem.
There's some truth in the saying that `consultants are people who steal
your watch in order to tell you the time'. Often you have the answer yourself,
and you are just trying to avoid grappling with the issue. Of course there
are situations when you need outside expertise - whether technical, or in
clearing your own mind or facilitating the participation process.
`Bring in consultants expert in community
If you do use consultants:
- Get a recommendation from a previous client if possible.
- Give a clear brief on what you are trying to achieve, the level of
control and boundaries for action. At the same time be prepared to discuss
and, if necessary, renegotiate the brief.
- Encourage them to ask hard questions and provide an independent perspective.
- Play an active role in their work to provide continuing guidance and
learn from the experience. Don't use the consultants as insulation.
- Make sure you and your organisation can deliver in response to the
ideas they produce, and you can handle things when they leave.
- Include work within your organisation to parallel that with community
interests. Many problem in participation processes arise within the promoting
- Agree a realistic budget - then challenge the consultants to perform.
- Remember that most consultancy exercises are only as good as the client.
This section summarises a theoretical framework for thinking about participation
which brings together ideas from the 10 Key Issues section. The summary
below covers the main ideas:
A framework for participation
These ideas are then developed in more detail in following sections:
- There are different levels of participation appropriate for different
situations, and it is important to decide where you stand.
- There isn't one `community' but many interests - or stakeholders -
- Participation takes time.
The framework is developed from the idea of a ladder of participation discussed
in the 10 Key Issues section. The framework adds two other
dimensions to the idea of the level of participation on a ladder:
Summary of the framework
- The phase or stage of participation.
- Different interests - or stakeholders - may be at different levels
or stages of participation.
1 The level of participation - where do you stand?
See the set of questions at the end of this section about who `you' are
and what you are trying to achieve.
The ladder of participation model described in the previous section suggests
some levels are better than others. In this framework I suggest it is more
of a case of horses for courses - different levels
are appropriate in different circumstances.
The key issue is what `stance' are you taking as someone managing a participation
process, or controlling resources, and your reasons for doing so.
I suggest thinking of five levels - or stances - which offer increasing
degrees of control to the others involved.
The 'lower' level of participation keep control with the initiator - but
they lead to less commitment from others.
- The least you can do is tell people what is planned.
- You offer a number of options and listen to the feedback you get.
- Deciding together
- You encourage others to provide some additional ideas and options,
and join in deciding the best way forward.
- Acting together
- Not only do different interests decide together what is best, but
they form a partnership to carry it out.
- Supporting independent community initiatives
- You help others do what they want - perhaps within a framework of
grants, advice and support provided by the resource holder.
Compare this diagram with Sherry
Arnstein's ladder in 10 Key Issues
Each of these levels is discussed in more detail in the next main section:
Where do you stand?
Back to the start of the summary
2 The phase - where have you got to?
Participation is a process in which people have to think through what they
want, consider some options, and work through what should happen. I suggest
there are four main phases:
The phase at which something triggers the need to involve people, and you
start to think what that involves.
The period when you think through the process, make the first contacts,
and agree an approach.
The phase in which you use participation methods with the main interests
in the community.
What happens in this phase will depend very much on the level of participation
- you may be reporting back on consultation, or at another level setting
up partnership organisations.
These different phases are discussed in more detail in the section It
Back to start of the summary
3 People - who is involved?
Some people will want - or demand - more involvement than others. Others
will wish not to be involved. Identifying these different interests - stakeholders
- and negotiating the level of participation appropriate is the third dimension
of the framework
Some of the main issues in participation are about where power and control
lies between these interests, and the role of `you' in this.
Before starting a participation process it is important to reflect on the
role you have - the hat you are wearing. The way you act may be influenced
by how far you control resources, to whom you are answerable. People's attitudes
to you will certainly be influenced by the role and power they think you
It is also essential to clarify the purpose of participation - because that
will determine which stakeholders benefit.
These issues are discussed in the items on Beneficiaries, Power
Back to start of the summary
I think participation may work best for all concerned when each of the key
interests - the stakeholders - is satisfied with the level of participation
at which they are involved.
The nature of effective participation
That is, those who don't have much at stake may be happy to be informed
or consulted. Others will want to be involved in decisions and possibly
action to carry them out.
The difficult task for the practitioner managing the process is to identify
these interests, help them work out what they want from the process, and
negotiate a route for them to achieve it.
The power of the practitioner lies in influencing who will benefit. Participation
is not a neutal process. As yourself:
- What is the purpose of the process?
- Who benefits? Who pays? Who controls?
With different interests seeking different levels of participation, and
being in different phases, effective participation can seem like shooting
an arrow through a number of keyholes.
Back to start of the summary
Some early questions
At the start of a participation process a number of key questions should
help you decide your approach:
Who are you? For example:
Someone in a position of power controlling funds or other resources.
Someone with influence because you are planning or managing a participation
Someone with professional expertise or knowledge?
What do you want to achieve by working a participatory style?
Who will have the final say over decisions?
- To try and develop plans that meet people's expectations.
- To give people a say in the plans.
- To give people control over the solutions.
How ready are people, and organisations, to work in a participatory way?
- A management team.
- Everyone who gets involved.
- A political institution or other body
Back to start of the summary
- Do they have the desire?
- Do they have the skills?
- Do they have the authority?
One of the main ideas in the Guide is that of level of participation, and
the an organisation promoting participation takes a stance about the level
it suggests is appropriate for different interests. This section deals with
Where do you stand?
- Deciding together
- Acting together
- Supporting local initiatives
Choosing a level - taking a stance
The previous section developed the idea of levels of participation based
on Arnstein's ladder described in 10 Key ideas. Here each level is
dealt with in more detail, with suggestions on where it is appropriate.
This section, as others, is written on the assumption that you are promoting
or managing a participation process. Your precise role will affect what
stance you take.
For example, if you are controlling resources you may be very clear and
firm about how much say you are prepared to offer others. If you are acting
as a neutral facilitator you may be helping different interests negotiate
For further discussion of these issues, see Some early questions at the
end of the previous section, the items on Power and Role
of the practitioner.
Back to the summary of A framework for participation
Information-giving underpins all other levels of participation, and may
be appropriate on its own in some circumstances. However, you are likely
to hit problems if all you offer is information and people are expecting
Stance 1: Information
- The information-giving stance is essentially a 'take it or leave it'
- People may not accept they can't have a say. Is there really no alternative
to the ideas you are putting forward?
- Your information will be judged on who you are and your style as well
as what you say.
- Even though you may not want much feedback, put yourself in the place
of the people you are communicating with: the meaning of any communication
lies in the response that you get - not what you say.
Information-only may be appropriate when:
Information-only is inappropriate when the following apply (alternative
stances in brackets):
- You have no room for manoeuvre and must follow one course of action
- for example, where there is a clear legal requirement.
- An authority is reporting a course of action which is essentially
internal and doesn't affect others.
- At the start of a consultation or other process, with the promise
of more opportunity to participate later.
- You are seeking to empower community interests. Information is necessary
for empowerment, but seldom enough on its own (3, 4 or 5).
- There are alternatives and others have a legitimate interest in developing
them (3 or 4).
See the A-Z for methods to use with this and
other levels. Consider the following:
Avoid any methods which imply that people can have a say.
- Print: leaflets, newsletters, etc.
- Presentations at meetings.
- Briefing the media through press releases and press conferences.
- Advertising through posters, radio, press.
- Film or video.
In planning how to inform people, and carrying this out:
- Consider what frame of mind your audience is in - for example, what
do they expect or know already?
- Try a simple presentation on colleagues or a less informed audience
before you prepare materials.
- Use language and ideas which your audience will find familiar.
- Be clear about why you are just informing rather than consulting.
You have a low budget.
Concentrate on using existing channels of communication: local groups, media,
simple posters or leaflets. Be prepared to answer questions.
The PR department of your organisation wants to take over communications.
Insist on getting the basic messages clear before anything gets 'glossed
up'. Work on one product - say a leaflet - and use that as the reference
for other things. Make sure you have internal agreement to any messages.
You get no response from the audience you are addressing.
Since you are not asking people to become involved, that may be understandable.
However, ask a few people to play back to you what they understood from
your communication to see that you have got your message across.
People want more say.
Do they have a case? Who is setting the rules? Take comments seriously.
It is easier to change the level of participation and your stance early
on. Later it may become an uncomfortable U-turn.
Before taking up an information-giving stance consider:
- Are you clear which interests you are informing, and how much they
- Are they likely to be satisfied with only information?
- Can you present your proposals in a way people will understand and
- Have you identified appropriate communication methods for the time
available and audience?
- Are you prepared to change your stance if people want more than information?
Stance 2: Consultation
Consultation is appropriate when you can offer people some choices on what
you are going to do - but not the opportunity to develop their own ideas
or participate in putting plans into action.
- Consultation means giving people a restricted choice and role in solutions.
You may consult on the problems, offer some options, allow comment, take
account and then proceed - perhaps after negotiation. You are not asking
for help in taking action.
- All the basics of information-giving apply, plus the need to handle
The consultation stance is likely to be most appropriate when:
It is inappropriate when the following apply (alternative stances in brackets):
- You want to improve a service.
- You have a clear vision and plans to implement a project or programme
, and there appear to be a limited range of options.
- These options can be set out in terms which community interests can
understand and relate to their own concerns or needs.
- The initiator of the proposals can handle feedback and is prepared
to use this to choose between or modify options.
- You aren't going to take any notice of what people say.
- You are seeking to empower community interests (3, 4 or 5).
- You are not clear what you wish to do and are seeking ideas (3 or
- You don't have the resources or skills to carry out the options presented,
or other means of implementing (choose stance 4 or 5).
Consider the following methods for consultation, detailed in the
These methods may be used in conjunction with information-giving and presentational
techniques, for example:
- Surveys and market research.
- Consultative meetings.
- Consultative committees.
- Simulations where the options and constraints are clear.
- Media briefing.
- Leaflets and posters.
- Consider what response you want and how you will handle it as well
as what you are presenting.
- Make clear how realistic the different options are, and what the pros
and cons are as you see them.
- Avoid using methods like Planning for Real which encourage people
to put forward their own ideas, unless you are moving to stance 3 - deciding
- Be open about your own role, who ultimately takes decisions, how and
when this will be done.
- If you set up a consultative committee, give it clear terms of reference.
You have a low budget.
Use basic information-giving methods plus meetings hosted by local organisations.
Run an open meeting at the end of the process.
The PR department wants to take it over.
See information giving. Consider throughout: will people understand the
options, are they realistic, can we respond to feedback.
You don't have time to do things properly.
Be honest about the deadlines, and use the time-pressure to advantage.
You get more - or less - response than expected.
Was consultation the appropriate stance? Did you think it through from the
audience's point of view?
Before taking up a consultation stance consider:
- Are you clear which interests you are consulting, and have you the
means to contact them?
- Are they likely to be satisfied with consultation?
- Can you present your vision and options for achieving it in a way
people will understand and relate to?
- Have you identified appropriate communication methods for the time
available and likely participants?
- Can you and your colleagues handle the feedback?
- Have you arranged for a report back to those consulted?
- Are you prepared to change your stance if people want more than consultation?
- Are you just seeking endorsement of your plans?
Stance 3: Deciding together
Deciding together is a difficult stance because it can mean giving people
the power to choose without fully sharing the responsibility for carrying
- Deciding together means accepting other people's ideas, and then choosing
from the options you have developed together.
- The basics of consultation apply, plus the need to generate options
together, choose between them, and agree ways forward.
- The techniques are more complex.
- People need more confidence to get involved.
- The time scale for the process is likely to be much longer.
Deciding-together may be appropriate when:
Deciding together is inappropriate when the following apply (try alternative
stances in brackets).
- It is important that other people `own' the solution.
- You need fresh ideas.
- There is enough time.
- You have little room for manoeuvre (1 or 2).
- You can't implement decisions yourself (4 or 5).
Consider the following methods from the A-Z:
- Information-giving methods to start the process.
- Stakeholder analysis to identify who should be involved.
- SWOT analysis to understand where you are.
- Brainstorming, Nominal Group Technique, Surveys to develop some options.
- Cost/Benefit Analysis to make choices.
- Strategic Choice, Planning for Real, and other simulations as powerful
- SAST and Action Planning to decide what next.
- Plan the process before you start. Give yourself enough time.
- Define clearly the roles and responsibilities of the different interests
- who has a say, who will take action.
- Be open and honest about what you want to achieve, and any limits
- If you set up any organisational structures, agree clear terms of
reference and powers.
You don't have the time.
Consider whether stance 2 - consulting people - would be more appropriate.
You are not sure if your colleagues will back up any decisions.
Involve them in the process. Run internal workshops before involving others.
People aren't interested in joining in.
Spend more time on preliminary networking - basically talking to people
before holding any meetings. Run sessions hosted by existing organisations
as well as open sessions.
The techniques look too complicated.
Try some of the easier ones with a small group that you know. Bring in an
external trainer or facilitator.
Before taking up a deciding-together stance consider:
- Are you prepared to accept other people's ideas? What are the boundaries?
- Are you clear who it is appropriate to involve?
- Are you clear about what you want to achieve, and the boundaries to
any ideas you will accept to get there?
- Do you have the skills to use joint decision-making methods?
- Do you have the authority to follow through with solutions which are
decided with others?
- Have you involved colleagues who need to be part of the solution?
Stance 4: Acting together
Acting together may involve short-term collaboration or forming more permanent
partnerships with other interests.
- Acting together in partnership involves both deciding together and
then acting together.
- This means having a common language, a shared vision of what you want,
and the means to carry it out.
- Partners need to trust each other as well as agree on what they want
- Effective partnerships take a long time to develop - shot gun marriages
are unlikely to work.
- Each partner needs to feel they have an appropriate stake in the partnership
and a fair say in what happens.
Acting together may be appropriate when:
Acting together is not likely to be appropriate when the following apply
(alternative stances in brackets):
- One party cannot achieve what they want on their own.
- The various interests involved all get some extra benefit from acting
- There is commitment to the time and effort needed to develop a partnership.
- One party holds all the power and resources and uses this to impose
its own solutions (1 or 2).
- The commitment to partnership is only skin deep (1 or 2).
- People want to have a say in making decisions, but not a long term
stake in carrying out solutions (3).
Consider the following methods from the A-Z:
- Information giving methods to start the process.
- Methods for deciding together to create a shared vision.
- Team building exercises.
- Design exercises.
- Business planning exercises.
- Interim structures like working parties and steering groups as a focus
for decision making and accountability.
- Longer-term structures through which you can work together.
As for Deciding together, plus...
- Spend time getting to know and trust each other.
- Plan for the long-term sustainability of any organisational structure
that is needed to implement and maintain schemes.
- Avoid staffing partnership organisations with people who are accountable
to only one of the partners.
- Develop a common language, shared vision and corporate accountability.
Early discussion focuses on constitutions.
The final structure should come last - after you have decided what you are
going to do, how to get the resources, what skills you need, and how power
and responsibility will be shared. Set up interim structures like a steering
group with clear terms of reference.
Conflicts arise in steering group meetings.
Spend more time in workshop sessions and informal meetings to develop a
shared vision and mutual understanding.
Some interests feel excluded.
Clarify who the stakeholders are, and what their legitimate interests are.
Again, run workshops rather than committees. Use an independent facilitator.
Before taking up a 'acting together ' stance consider:
- Are you clear about what you want to achieve, and how flexible you
are in pursuing that vision?
- Have you identified potential partners?
- Do you have any evidence that they share a similar vision, and are
interested in a partnership with you to achieve it?
- Do they trust you?
- Do you have the time and commitment necessary to form a partnership?
- Are you prepared to share power?
Stance 5: Supporting local initiatives
Supporting independent community-based initiatives means helping others
develop and carry out their own plans. Resource-holders who promote this
stance may, of course, put limits on what they will support.
- This is the most 'empowering' stance -provided people want to do things
for themselves. They may, quite properly, choose a lower level of participation.
- Carrying through the stance may involve people in setting up new forms
of organisations to handle funds and carry out projects or programmes.
- The process has to be owned by, and move at the pace of, those who
are going to run the initiative - although funders and others may set deadlines.
This stance may be appropriate:
It is not likely to be appropriate when the following apply (alternative
stances in brackets):
- Where there is a commitment to empower individuals or groups within
- Where people are interested in starting and running an initiative
- Community initiatives are seen as 'a good thing' in the abstract and
pushed on people from the top down. (1,2,3).
- Where there is no commitment to provide training and support.
- Where there aren't the resources to maintain initiatives in the longer-term.
- Where time is very short.
Consider the following methods from the A-Z:
- An offer of grants, advice and support - perhaps conditional on some
commitment being made by the other interests involved.
- Workshops for helping community groups create a shared vision and
plan their action.
- Team building exercises.
- Commitment planning.
- Business planning exercises.
- Workshops on design, fund-raising and publicity.
- Visits to similar projects.
- Interim structures like working parties and steering groups as a focus
for decision making and accountability.
- Longer-term structures controlled by community interests.
- Development trusts.
- Be clear about your role and whether produces any conflict between,
for example, controlling resources and helping community interests develop
their own ideas and organisation.
- If you are controlling resources make sure you have agreement from
your colleagues and can deliver what you promise before you start.
- If you are acting as a facilitator or trainer make sure the resource-holders
are involved in the process. If possible run internal workshops with them.
- Be realistic about the time the process will take.
Community interests find it difficult to get organised.
Provide support and, if necessary training. Arrange visits to similar projects
elsewhere. Treat people development as seriously as project development.
The steering group or other body cannot make decisions.
Organise workshop sessions outside formal committees.
Little happens between meetings.
End each meeting with an action planning session. If funds are available
appoint a development worker. Keep in contact through a regularly produced
Community interests become committed to action, but resource-holders
Run internal sessions to gain commitment within the supporting organisations.
Use the media.
Before taking up a 'we will support community initiatives' stance consider:
- Do you understand the different interests in the community and their
- Have you contacted existing community and voluntary sector organisations?
- Will your colleagues support the stance?
- Do you have skills and resources to offer?
- Are you clear about the role you are playing?
It takes time
Often participation is treated as a limited set of events - a survey,
an exhibition, one or two meetings. However, if participation is to be more
than superficial consultation it must be treated as a process which takes
some time. This section deals with the main phases of participation, and
stresses that success depends on careful preparation.
The participation process
The Framework section suggested treating participation as a process which
has four main phases:
(Thanks to Allen Hickling for suggesting these phases during a workshop
in Glasgow in1993).
Of course, in reality life is never that tidy, and we find that we are pitched
into trying to do things without enough planning.
Often it is difficult to see what to do before trying something out, and
reflecting on what happened. It may only be then that we find out what the
real problem is.
This cycle goes on throughout any process to carry out a project or programme.
Participation is no different.
Because participation doesn't run on predetermined tracks it isn't possible
to set out a step by step guide - every situation will be different. However
there are some key issues which keep cropping up, and some are more important
in particular phases. The questions and checklists in this section all relate
back to the main question set in the Signposts from
theory to practice section.
The process of participation may be triggered in many ways:
Often situations will be messy and unclear, with different people and groups
having different views of what is going on. In order to move into a planned
process of participation, it is important to start asking some key questions.
These will recur in different forms throughout.
- A campaign of protest may be turned into a more collaborative programme
- An authority may promote a project.
- Government may announce funding is available for community-based projects.
An outline agenda
For guidance see the section Guidelines on How
to.., and A-Z entries
on Aims and objectives, Confidence, Levels of participation, Stakeholders,
- Who is going to champion the process?
- Who pays? Who administers? Who convenes ?
- What are you trying to achieve through participation?
- Who are the key interests in the community?
- Who are the key interests within any organisation promoting participation,
and what are their attitudes?
- What level of participation is likely to be appropriate and acceptable?
- How will you know when you have succeeded?
As these key issues become clearer, it is important to prepare on three
Most experienced facilitators and trainers agree that 80% of successful
participation lies in preparation - so don't skimp on it .
- Initial spadework with whoever is promoting the process.
- Agreeing the approach with key interests.
- Developing a strategy.
Spadework with the promoter
In my experience the toughest problems in participation processes do not
stem from apathy, ignorance or lack of skills among residents or other community
interests. Given time and effort these can be worked through.
The most intractable problems arise because organisations promoting participation
aren't clear about what they want to achieve, are fearful of sharing control,
and seldom speak with one voice.
Unless these issues are tackled at the outset they are likely to lead to
frustration, conflict and disillusion further down the line.
The key issue is, what does the promoting organisation want from the participation
process? The most common goals are:
In preparing a participation process it is important to consider the mix
of these desired goals, and whether they are they realistic. In particular,
is there the internal commitment within the organisation to bring them about?
A group of experienced practitioners who discussed these issues at the Gorbals
workshop in November 1993, developed the following checklist.
- Improving the quality of the outcome - the project or programme.
- Developing the capabilities of the participants.
- Building working relationships of benefit for the future.
- Increasing ownership and the acceptability of the outcome.
The internal agenda
If you are acting as the manager of the participation process it is important
that the internal `client' understands, agrees and values your role.
- What does the organisation want to achieve from the participation
- What are the boundaries of the task? What is fixed, and what is still
- What level of participation is appropriate with the different outside
- Can the organisation respond to the outcomes of the process or are
they intending to manipulate the participants towards pre-determined outcomes?
- What is the `real' agenda? Are there any hidden agendas?
- What is the history of the issues, and what are the positions of the
- Who owns the process within the organisation? Is there more than one
owner and if so how will this be managed?
- Are the senior officers and politicians prepared to make a public
commitment and to be accessible to the participants?
- Who is involved internally? Have they got their internal act together?
Are they really committed to the process? Will they stick at it when the
going gets tough?
- What resources are available? How much time is there?
- How does this measure up to the support or involvement expected by
In order to achieve this understanding it is a good idea to apply participation
techniques to the internal process with the client After this experience
they are more likely to understand the techniques you use and support you
when you apply them externally.
Understanding key interests
Before starting the formal processes of producing leaflets, calling meetings
or running workshops it is important to understand who's who and what outcomes
they may be looking for. Here's a checklist of some of the early tasks and
- Consider the potential obstacles to participation, for example: rigid
views, authoritarian cultures, grudges and antagonisms, passive and hard-to-reach
interest groups, NlMBYs (Not in My Back Yard), professionals and technicians
with poor communication skills, groups defending perceived power and status,
or lacking the confidence, skills, or knowledge to participate. How will
these be managed?
- Meet the key agencies and lobbies. Get out and network formally and
informally. Open new lines of communication. Meet one-to-one when possible
to encourage candid responses.
- There are four main groups of participants: politicians; decision
makers and resource holders; activists; and ordinary people. How will you
get beyond the (often self-appointed) activists? How will you pro-actively
involve hard-to-reach groups?
- Not everyone has an equal stake: build in different levels of involvement
for different levels of commitment. Not everyone needs to be involved in
every issue at every level and at every stage.
- Help the parties decide how their representatives will relate to their
- Research the availability of additional resources. Bring potential
funders into the process.
- Get back to the client and gain assent to the process design.
Agreeing the approach - a strategy
After discussions with the internal client and external interests, you should
be able to develop a strategy for the participation process. The precise
nature of the strategy will, of course, depend upon circumstances and the
level of participation sought with different interests. These issues are
dealt with in more detail in the `How to...' section. Here are some of the
main points to cover:
As far as possible gain agreement of all parties to the following:
Some of these issues may have to evolve with the process: it may not be
possible to agree everything at the start. If it seems worth the risk, you
may just have to get some action off the ground and work out the details
as you go along. You should also:
- The aims of the process and how progress will be evaluated.
- The `feel' of the process: the style and tone.
- The groupings, forums and decision cycles to be employed.
- Precisely what authority is being delegated to whom.
- The appropriate approaches and techniques, taking into account time
scale, objectives, resources, openness of information sharing etc.
- The ground-rules: how are we going to deal with each other?
- The resources available and any conditions attached.
- The technical and administrative services available.
- The mechanisms for recording and disseminating information.
- The level of support and resources to be made available.
See also items in the A-Z on Action plans,
Budgets for participation, Communication, Workshops.
- Bear in mind that people have limited patience and attention spans:
how will you deal with long lead times?
- Be sure everyone understands the constraints: what the process will
not achieve for them. Unrealistic expectations can only lead to disillusionment.
- Be realistic about what can be achieved with the time and resources
During this phase you will be running events, producing printed materials
and using a range of methods. The Guidelines on How
to... section and A-Z items provide detailed
The following are some of tips which emerged from brainstorming sessions
with experienced practitioners about this phase of the process:
- Don't underestimate people. Give them tools to manage complexity don't,
shield them from it.
- Divide the issues into bite-sized chunks.
- Start with people's own concerns and the issues relevant to them.
Don't superimpose your own ideas and solutions at the outset.
- Help people widen their perceptions of the choices available and to
clarify the implications of each option.
- Build in visible early successes to develop the confidence of participants.
`Staircase' skills, trust and commitment to the process: offer a progressive
range of levels of involvement and help people to move up the ladder.
- Direct empowerment training for participants may not be appreciated
- it may be better to develop skills more organically as part of the process.
- If at all possible, avoid going for a comprehensive irreversible solution.
Set up an iterative learning process, with small, quick, reversible pilots
- Continuously review and widen membership. As new interests groups
are discovered how will they be integrated into the process?
- Help people to build their understanding of complex and remote decision
processes which are outside the delegated powers of the participation process
but which are affecting the outcomes.
- Nurture new networks and alliances.
- Plans must be meaningful and lead to action.
- Manage the link between the private ability of the various interest
groups to deliver on their commitments and the public accountability and
control of the implementation.
- Build in opportunities for reflection and appraisal.
- Make sure people are having fun!
The final phase in a participation process. By this time it should be clear
how any agreed proposals are going to be taken forward. How this is done
will depend very much on the level of participation.
Continuation - keeping going
At one level - of consultation - you may have worked through some prepared
options with different interests and then agreed to take the results away
for evaluation and implementation.
At another level - working together - you may be setting up new partnership
- Did we achieve what we set out to do in the process?
- Were the key interests happy with the level of involvement?
- Have we reported back to people on the outcomes?
- Are responsibilities clear for carrying projects forward?
- Are there major lessons we can learn for the next time?
Groups and organisations, like relationships, go through recognisable stages.
The early stages have been described as:
All of this is difficult enough in a group which meets frequently, or in
a formal organisation. It should be no surprise that it is even more complex
in a participation process when so many different interests have to find
a common vision. Don't be discouraged!
- Forming: coming together as a group, getting to know each other,
deciding what the group's concerns and emphases should be.
- Storming: coming to terms with differences within the group.
- Norming: agreeing objectives, priorities, procedures, ways
of relating to each other.
- Performing: getting on with the work, without having to spend
a lot of time and energy deciding what needs doing and how it should be
Signposts from theory to practice
This section sets out how I have designed some of the signposting in this
Guide - the cross-references from problems to participation techniques.
It is rather theoretical, and if you wish you can skip it and move to the
The nature of signposting
The original idea of this guide was to help practitioners who subscribe
to the `why' of participation find their way to the `how'. In practice signposting
is complex for several reasons:
- Every situation is unique.
- Participation methods are not just quick-fix tools for success - they
often require skill and experience in their application.
- The methods are not always easy to find - there are not many participation
For these reasons, this section - and the complementary `Guidelines
on How to.. section - cannot provide
a step by step manual. Instead I have tried to offer a number of ways of
looking at the route from participation problems to solutions, with some
pointers to topics and methods which are detailed in the A-Z
The starting point - problems
Whatever level of participation you are offering, and whatever phase you
are in, there will be problems.
So what do you do when the going gets tough? Reach for a solution - a participation
tool or method. You may go and talk to people, produce another piece of
paper, run a workshop, set up a committee, or perhaps give someone else
the job. The later section on Problems suggests which methods
may be most appropriate in common situations. But what do we mean by participation
- People will not read your leaflets or come to meetings.
- Colleagues will fail to deliver on their promises.
- Different interest groups will have conflicting aims.
- Deadlines will be missed.
- You may end up as the scapegoat for everyone's difficulties.
The end point - participation methods
The methods for participation included in the guide fall broadly under three
headings - techniques, structures and longer-term programmes.
Techniques are frequently used short-term interventions employed by consultants
and trainers. They range from communication materials and simple workshop
sessions through to more complex methods of decision-making, like Strategic
Choice. They can be very useful ways of concentrating efforts to involve
people, but should not be seen as 'quick fixes'. Participation takes time,
and techniques will usually need to be part of a long-term programme, or
related to a structure - see below.
Both interim and longer-term organisational structures are used in participation
processes. They range from working parties and advisory committees to organisations
like development trusts, and community-based coops. Local councils and similar
organisations often favour structures because they mirror or can be linked
to their committee systems and the procedures which go with them. They can
stand in the way of real participation for those involved unless their purpose
is clear, the balance of control or influence is agreed, and their proceedings
are enlivened by workshop techniques.
These are processes for participation, planned over a period of time,
which may involve staff devoted partly or wholly to the programme as well
as the use of techniques and structures.
The bridge - key issues
The problems in participation processes seem to relate to about 15 underlying
issues. If can spot the issue, by asking the right questions, you may be
able to find a participation method to use. I have listed what I think are
the key issues below, with some signposts to methods.
1 Taking stock: Situation assessment
See CATWOE, Community profiling, Stakeholders, Surveys, SWOT in the A-Z
- What else is happening which might affect us?
- Who are the key interests?
- What are the barriers to action?
- Who holds the power, and are they prepared to share it?
2 Taking stock: Self assessment
See Capacity-building, Skills audit, SWOT in the A-Z
- What do we feel able to do?
- How confident are we?
3 Clarifying purpose, values and vision
See Aims and objectives, Mission, Nominal Group Technique, Outcomes,
Purpose, Vision in the A-Z
- What are we trying to achieve?
- What will it seem like if we succeed?
See Accountability, Recruitment, Roles in the A-Z
- What part am I and others playing in the process?
- What responsibilities do we each have?
5 Increasing commitment
See Apathy, Commitment, Ownership in the A-Z
- How can we get people to play an active part?
- Why are people not interested?
- Are my colleagues with me?
6 Communication Are we talking the same language?
See Communication, Meetings, Presentations n the A-Z
- Are we talking the same language
- Do we understand each other?
7 Developing criteria
See Criteria, Evaluation, Values in the A-Z
- What do we think is most important?
- Do we agree on priorities and values?
- How do we use this to choose between different options?
See Negotiation, Outcomes in the A-Z
- How can we reach agreement on what to do and how to do it?
9 Getting resources
See Fundraising, Resources in the A-Z
- What money, advice and other resources will we need?
10 Developing skills/capacities
See Capacity-building, Skills audit in the A-Z
- How will we develop the ability to work with others and achieve what
11 Generating options
See Brainstorming, Creative thinking, Ideas, Options, Nominal Group Technique
in the A-Z
- How can we think creatively to produce a number of different possible
options for solutions?
12 Making decisions
See Action plans, Cost/Benefit Analysis, Strategic choice in the A-Z
- How can we choose between the different options and work out what
to do next?
13 Developing structure
See Business planning, Competence, Constitutions, Structures in the A-Z
- What type of organisation may we need - either in the short term to
make decisions, or in the longer-term to carry out plans?
14 Managing structure
- How will we run any organisation?
- What skills and resources will we need?
See Competence, Governance, Management in the A-Z
15 Evaluating progress
See Criteria, Evaluation in the A-Z
- How will we judge whether we are succeeding or failing
A community participation questions set
To ensure a broad. coherent approach to community participation, consider
Has the nature and extent of commitment to participation. amongst all those
involved, been made clear at the outset? Have major differences been addressed?
2 Education for participation
Has some opportunity been provided to ensure some positive `induction' to
the participation process for local people, professionals, elected members
Has it been decided whether, and in what general ways, a participative approach
is applicable to all types of specific project or continuing initiative?
Has something been done to ensure that the pattern and detail of participation
activity is not determined totally by whoever initiates it? Is there a shared
feeling of `ownership'?
Within a general principle of attempting to achieve the fullest possible
involvement on any project, are all parties clear about, and do they accept,
the level of participation on offer?
6 Delivering agreed scope
Are those in positions of power to influence the end outcome (elected members,
officers, developers, funders) able to deliver the agreed level of involvement?
(If it cannot be delivered, it should not be offered.)
7 All Stages
Is participation being started as early as possible in the planning and
development process, and how can you make it something which should go right
through from initiation to completion (and even into later community management)?
8 Defining Overall Community
Have the definitions of `area' and `overall community', used to determine
who has an opportunity to be involved, been negotiated with all parties.
and how will they be redefined if necessary as work proceeds?
9 Engaging Communities
Have the ground rules for how the many sub-communities within the area are
defined, located and accessed been considered at the outset and agreed with
all parties, and how will it be enlarged and extended as work proceeds?
Have those managing the involvement process, along with other parties, agreed
an overall, coherent approach which ensures that all relevant issues are
addressed and which considers the participation process over time?
11 Relevant Methods
Have the methods to be used been carefully chosen to relate closely to the
scope of the work, the definitions of communities used, the stage of the
involvement and the available skills and resources?
12 Range of methods
In general, is a range of methods to be used in order to increase the chances
of engaging the largest number of people?
Have all resources available for the work been assessed, considered and
valued - including `work equity' by community groups and others? Is there
agreement about how those resources are best disposed throughout the work?
Through what means will those managing the participation process ensure
that the manner in which work is handled creates a sense of trust within
the community about the fairness and neutrality of the process?
Has there been consideration at an early stage of the manner in which the
many views and ideas emerging from the participation process are assembled,
weighted and used in relation to reaching any decisions? In particular,
who will do this?
16 Going forward
Has thought been given to how practice should be evaluated in retrospect
and time given, for all parties, to consider how best to take forward the
lessons learned into subsequent involvement activity?
..... and finally:
What general support is there from your organisation, is the time right
to be doing this, are there any specific 'windows of opportunity' you can
use to get things going? Where are the enemies and the barriers likely to
come? Can you influence any of these?
This question set was supplied by consultants BDOR.
It is tempting to say that every situation is so different that general
guidelines on participation are misleading - but that isn't much comfort
to anyone trying to work out how to start. So here are ten principles intended
to get you thinking, rather than provide firm rules. Cross references are
provided to other main sections and items in the A-Z,
and further guidelines on the main tasks are given later. This section -
as others - is written for someone managing a participation process.
1 Ask yourself what you wish to achieve from the participation process,
and what you want to help others achieve. What is the purpose?
See A framework for participation, Beneficiaries,
Purpose in the A-Z
2 Identify the different interests within a community that you wish
to involve, and put yourself in their shoes.
See Community, Stakeholders in the A-Z
3 Clarify your own role and whether you are wearing too many hats
- for example, communicator of information, facilitator of ideas, controller
See Accountability, Role of the Practitioner in the A-Z
4 Consider what balance to strike between keeping control and gaining
other people's commitment, and what levels of participation this suggests
for different interests.
See Where do you stand?
5 Invest as much effort in preparation as participation with outside
See Preparation in It takes
6 Run internal participation processes to make sure your own organisation
is committed and can deliver.
See Preparation in It takes
7 Be open and honest about what you are offering or seeking, and
communicate in the language of those you are aiming to involve .
See Communication, Trust in the A-Z
8 Make contact informally with key interests before running any formal
See Preparation in It takes
time, Networking in the A-Z
9 Build on existing organisations and networks - but don't use
them as the only channel of communication and involvement.
See Networking, Voluntary sector in the A-Z
10 Consider the time and resources you will need.
See It takes time
This section takes the guidelines above and issues discussed in the more
theoretical sections and suggests how to tackle the main tasks likely to
crop up in a participation process. It does so by looking at the key issues
from a number of angles, providing checklists, and signposting you on to
more detail to other sections in the guide and items in the A-Z section.
However, it should be treated as guidance only - not a step-by-step manual.
...clarify why you want to involve others
Why is it necessary to involve other people? Is it for your benefit, theirs,
1 Consider what you are trying to achieve at the end of the day,
and why this may be best done with others. See Benefits of participation,
Barriers to participation, Outcomes.
2 List the key interests who will have to be involved, both within
your organisation and without. See Stakeholder analysis.
3 After following the steps below, try out your ideas informally
on a few people you know.
Some of the greatest problems arise because those promoting or managing
participation are wearing too many different hats.
...understand your role
1 Consider the part you may be expected to play in a participation
2 If you are trying to do more than one of these, could there be
conflicts? How will others see you? Can you split roles with someone else?
- Someone who controls resources?
- A go-between?
- A representative of an interest group?
- Some who will initiate, plan or manage the process?
- Someone using participation techniques - producing newsletters, holding
meetings, running workshops?
3 See Role of the practitioner in the A-Z
and earlier sections on Where do you stand? and
It takes time for more detailed descriptions of what is involved
in the process.
...decide where you stand
One of the most important early decision is on the appropriate level of
participation, or stance you will take.
1 Clarify why you want to involve others, and your possible role
- see early steps above.
2 Read the Framework for participation section, and
consider what level of participation is likely to be appropriate:
* Information: telling people what you are going to do.
* Consultation: offering people choices between options you have developed.
* Deciding together: allowing others to contribute ideas and options, and
* Acting together: putting your choices into practice in partnership.
* Supporting independent community initiatives - helping others carry out
their own plans.
3 Review who the key interests are, and what level of participation
will be appropriate for each. See Stakeholders.
...prepare for participation
Experienced trainers and facilitators reckon that 80 per cent of the potential
for success lies in preparing well before engaging with individuals and
1 See the Preparation section in It Takes time. Work
through the internal agenda within your group or organisation. For example:
* Are your colleagues agreed on what they wish to achieve, and the level
* Have you flushed out any hidden agendas?
* Will the organisation be able to deliver on any promises?
2 Make contact informally with key interests.
Review the levels of participation different interests may seek.
Consider the possible obstacles which may occur, and the support you will
3 Begin to develop a strategy which covers:
* The main deadlines
* Resources needed
* Technical support available
See the Signposts from theory to practice section, Budgets
for participation, Timeline.
...choose participation methods
The Easy answers section outlines what can occur if you don't
think through carefully what methods to use.
1 See the Signposts section for a theoretical discussion,
and pointers to topics and methods featured in the A-Z.
2 In choosing a method consider:
* Is it appropriate for the level of participation? For example, powerful
techniques like Planning for Real which give everyone a say are not appropriate
for consultation processes where you are really only offering people limited
* Do you have the necessary skills and resources? A slide show may be more
effective than a video.
* Can you follow through? There is no point doing a survey unless you can
handle the responses and use the information.
* Do you need help? An experienced trainer or facilitator may be necessary
for some of the more complex methods.
...develop support within your organisation
Many participation processes fail because the organisations promoting the
process cannot deliver when others respond.
1 See the section on Change in organisations, and
It takes time. After reviewing the issues there and above (in ...prepare
2 Use internally some of the techniques you plan to use externally:
* Produce communication materials in draft.
* Run workshop sessions.
* Encourage others within the organisation to take ownership of the proposals,
options or ideas and work them through informally with other interests.
That is the best way to gain internal commitment or discover what problems
may arise later.
See Commitment planning, Ownership.
... and develop your skills as an enabler
Although many of the techniques suggested in this guide are relatively simple,
it takes some degree of confidence to run a workshop with community interests
for the first time or perhaps argue through with colleagues the need for
a long-term participation process. Here are a few suggestions on how to
develop your confidence and capability:
* Contact anyone within your organisation, or locally, with facilitation,
training or general community development experience and talk through your
* Contact one of the organisations listed in this guide who offer training
* Find a low-risk opportunity to try running a workshop using some of the
* Or even better run a workshop jointly with an experienced practitioner
- perhaps contacted through one of the organisations listed.
...choose an appropriate structure
Participation is not necessarily achieved just by setting up a forum, working
group, committee, steering group or other structure. On the other hand,
if you are planning or managing a participation process you will need some
point of accountability, and the key interests may need to work together
formally as well as creatively. In planning the process:
1 Clarify to whom you are accountable at the outset.
2 If you are working at the `acting together' level of participation
help key interests form a working group or steering group when appropriate.
3 Review your role and accountability with that new group.
See items on the structures mentioned, and Accountability, Structures
for participation, Terms of reference.
Participation processes do not run on rails, and they cannot be set out
as a linear step-by-step process. Each of the items above may be seen as
a problem which has to be tackled, but not necessarily solved at one go.
Plan, act, review - or as they say in the States `do it, fix it, try it'.
Bearing that in mind here is a summary of the main tasks.
The main tasks in summary
1 Clarify why the participation process is being started, who has the
final say, and what your brief is.
See Accountability, Aims and objectives, Mission.
2 Identify key community interests, including voluntary and community
See Community profiling, Networking, Stakeholder analysis.
3 Consider the level of participation appropriate, make informal
contacts to identify local concerns, and whether your stance - the level
you are adopting - is likely to be acceptable.
See Level of participation, Networking.
4 Run a workshop session(s) within your organisation to ensure
key people are clear about the purpose of the participation process, the
roles and responsibilities, and the answers to basic questions which will
be asked when you go public.
See Barriers to participation, Changing in organisations, Workshops
5 Consider the stance (Inform, Consult etc.) you are taking in
more detail, and in the light of that decide on what methods you will use.
See Levels of participation
6 Review whether your organisation will be able to respond to
the feedback, and follow through on any decisions reached.
See Changing in organisations
7 Review your timescale, and prepare an action plan based on the
level of participation. See Action planning
In researching this guide I found few publications which deal specifically
with participation and partnership. Not surprisingly, books of relevant
techniques are fewer still.
The references below are some of the main sources of information and inspiration
I found in developing theory and finding examples of techniques. Please
send me your own favourites for inclusion in a later edition of the guide.
Details of organisations mentioned can be found in the next section, including
101 ways to generate great ideas.
Timothy R. V. Foster, Kogan Page,1991.
A consultant lists 101 ways to understand problems, generate ideas in groups,
develop solutions and evaluate which to use.
Awareness through to action.
Newcastle Architecture Workshop, 1992.
A pack containing scores of techniques for achieving participation in environmental
projects and the design process. Useful for work in schools, training for
professionals and with community groups.
A-Z of meetings.
Sue Ward, Pluto Press, 1985.
Reflects the author's experience in the trade union movement and Labour
Party, and is strong on the formalities of constitutions, rules, and standing
Building effective local partnerships.
Local Government Management Board, 1993.
Guidelines based on case studies of partnerships, aimed at both local authorities
and voluntary bodies with whom they may develop partnership arrangements.
Change and how to help it happen.
Community Education Training Unit, 1994.
A comprehensive and practical guide to facilitation methods for organisational
change. The approach and methods can be adapted for participation processes.
Citizen action: taking action in your community.
Des Wilson with Leighton Andrews and Maurice Frankel, Longman, 1986.
The nuts and bolts of organising a local campaign.
Citizen involvement: a practical guide for change.
Peter Beresford and Suzy Croft, Macmillan, 1993.
A guide to participation and empowerment which focuses on initiatives in
social work and social services. Plenty of insights from service users as
well as practitioners, and guidelines for agencies.
Community enterprise from the bottom up.
Edited by Nick Love, Lincolnshire Wolds Publications, 1993.
Case studies and advice on creating local community-based enterprises.
Community involvement in City Challenge.
Richard MacFarlane, NCVO, 1993.
A good practice guide based on case studies of City Challenge projects.
Provides insights into the problems of achieving participation against tight
timetables and Treasury funding procedures.
Community profiling: a guide to identifying local needs.
Paul Burton, School for Advanced Urban Studies, 1993.
Provides a 10-step practical guide to developing a community profile which
is defined as `a social, environmental and economic description of a given
area which is used to inform local decision-making.'
Andrew Floyer Acland, The Environment Council, 1992.
Booklet on `how to reach agreement by consent in multi-party, multi-issue
situations.' Describes a five stage process: Assessment, Initiation, Meetings,
Decisions, Making the Solutions Work. Free - call the Council.
Creating Development Trusts.
Diane Warburton and David Wilcox, HMSO, 1988.
Case studies of joint public, private, community organisations concerned
with area conservation and renewal. Also outlines the start up process for
a trust, and elements of good practice.
Environment Trust Associates, Local Government Management Board, 1994.
A handbook on participation techniques, covering some of the same ground
as this guide. Provides more detailed guidance on, for example, workshops,
surveys, and Planning for Real.
The Local Government Government Management Board is also producing a
series of free papers on community participation and other issues relating
to Agenda 21 - the programme being developed by local authorities following
the 1992 Rio Earth Summit..
Croner's Management of Voluntary Organisations.
Croner Publications, 1989 plus quarterly updates.
Substantial compendium of management advice, aimed at staffed voluntary
Designing your own simulations.
Ken Jones, Methuen, 1985.
Aimed mainly at teachers, but the approach is more widely applicable.
Getting organised: a handbook for non-statutory organisations.
Christine Holloway and Shirley Otto, Bedford Square Press, 1985.
The authors write that: `The purpose of this book is to help you bring about
changes which will improve the effectiveness of your organisation.' It does
this by raising key management issues and providing checklists and exercises.
Getting to yes.
Roger Fisher and William Ury, Hutchinson, 1981.
A classic work on negotiation with applications spanning personal relationships,
work and international diplomacy. Key elements of the method are: Separate
the people from the problem; Focus on interests, not positions; Invent options
for mutual gain; Insist on objective criteria. It deals with What if they
are more powerful? What if they won't play? What if they use dirty tricks?
How to make meetings work.
Malcolm Peel, Kogan Page, 1988.
Covers planning for meetings, how groups work, different roles, formal procedures,
legal issues, and conferences. Brief section on `special meetings' for brainstorming,
negotiation, therapy, training, and a section on conferences.
How to solve your problems.
Brenda Rogers, Sheldon Press, 1991.
Counsellor and teacher deals with problems from the personal perspective,
using techniques also relevant to groups and organisations. For example,
chapters include Defining and clarifying the Problem; Collecting information;
Creative thinking; Generating more ideas; Making decisions; Putting your
decisions into action.
Influencing with integrity.
Genie Z. Laborde, Syntony Publishing, 1983.
Early application of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) by a US communication
consultant. Provides a theoretical basis for advice on how to establish
rapport with your audience, clarify the outcomes you are seeking, read body
language, interpret responses, and run meetings effectively.
Introduction to neuro-linguistic programming.
Joseph O'Connor and John Seymour, Thorsons Publishing Group, 1990.
A more detailed description of NLP, its psychological basis and use of linguistic
analysis. Deals with the underlying processes of communication.
Just about managing?
Sandy Adirondack, London Voluntary Service Council, 1992.
Best-selling guide to effective management for voluntary organisations and
community groups. Covers all the main issues, with lots of checklists.
Ann Holmes, Radical Improvements for Peripheral Estates, 1992.
Study of community empowerment on housing estates, with a strong focus on
the issues of confidence, communication and capacity. Twenty of the issues
are analysed in detail, with accompanying exercises to tackle problems.
Local authorities and community development: a strategic opportunity
for the 1990s.
Association of Metropolitan Authorities, 1993.
Recommendations on how local authorities can develop strategic plans and
practical action to secure greater community involvement in service delivery.
Prepared by a joint working party representing local authorities and community
Making it happen: a user's guide to the Neighbourhood Action Packs.
Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation.
A description of how to use three dimensional models and other back-up materials
to involve communities in decision-making. Written by Tony Gibson who has
pioneered Planning for Real. NIF has produced about 40 packs and publications
guided by the philosophy that the people who live and work in neighbourhoods
are the real experts.
Mike Pedler and Tom Boydell, Fontana, 1985.
Written for `the thinking manager' by consultants who specialise in management
education and development. Based on the belief that `you cannot manage others
unless you are able to manage yourself - to be proactive, rather than allowing
yourself to be buffeted and controlled by events and other people.' To that
might be added that you can't empower other people unless you are empowered
Manual for action.
Martin Jeffs, Action Resources Group, 1982.
Sub-titled `Techniques to enable groups engaged in action for change to
increase their effectiveness'. The first edition, published in 1977, grew
out of concern with training for non-violent action. The later edition,
revised by Sandy Merritt, contains over 120 techniques. Unfortunately difficult
Organising in voluntary and community groups.
National Extension College, 1992.
This title covers two sets of linked materials produced by NEC: a set of
distance learning materials by Anne Stamper for people following the RSA
advanced diploma in the organisation of community groups, plus a resource
pack by Roger Gomm and Minna Ireland.
Organising things: a guide to successful political action.
Sue Ward, Pluto Press, 1984.
How to organise public meetings, marches and demonstrations, lobbies, petitions,
conferences, festivals. Written for campaigners, useful on other fronts
Participation - a tenants' handbook.
Liz Cairncross, David Clapham, Robina Goodlad. Tenant Participation Advisory
Written for "tenants' groups and other tenants who may be trying to
have more say over what happens to their homes and estates." Distinguishes
different levels of participation from listening to control, and deals with
some of the methods for involvement which may be used by landlords.
Planning Together: the art of effective teamwork.
George Gawlinski and Lois Graessle, Bedford Square Press. 1988.
Presents a theoretical model for co-operative planning by any group of people
working together as a team, and a step-by-step approach with exercises.
Chapters on Taking stock; Developing and sharing a vision; Linking values,
policies and strategies; Prioritising aims; Setting objectives; Getting
organised and staying organised; Evaluating progress. The the model and
exercises can be adapted for participation processes.
Planning under pressure: the strategic choice approach.
John Friend and Allen Hickling, Pergamon Press, 1987
A comprehensive account of the strategic choice approach to planning, problem-solving
and decision-making. Powerful, but not for the beginner.
Practical problem solving for managers.
Michael Stevens, British Institute of Management, Kogan Page, 1988.
The author defines problems as `situations in which we experience uncertainty
or difficulty in achieving what we want to achieve' and offers the equation
`objective + obstacle = PROBLEM.' He covers defining problems; generating
ideas; solving problems in groups; evaluating solutions; and getting your
solution accepted. Includes useful exercises and checklists.
Pressure: the A to Z of campaigning in Britain.
Des Wilson. Heinemann, 1984.
A practical guide to running campaigns by one of the most successful campaigners
of the 1970s and 80s. Mainly about national campaigns, but also readable
and relevant for local groups. See also Citizen Action.
Rational analysis for a problematic world.
Edited by Jonathan Rosenhead, Wiley, 1989.
Brings together in relatively accessible form `super techniques' for problem
solving like Cognitive Mapping, Soft Systems Methodology and Strategic Choice.
David Osborne and Ted Gaebler, Addison Wesley, 1992.
Contains many examples of new entrepreneurial approaches to national and
local government in the US and is, apparently, required reading among Ministers
and senior Civil Servants here.
Resource manual for a living revolution.
Virginia Coover, Ellen Deacon, Charles Esser, Christopher Moore. New Society
US classic developed by people involved in non-violent social action in
the 1970s `for people who are concerned or angered by the deterioration
of our society and who, because they have some sense that their efforts
can have an effect for change, are looking for tools to transform it.' Relevant
to campaigning and practical action. Sections cover the theoretical basis
for change; working in groups; developing communities of support; personal
growth; consciousness raising; training and education; organising for change;
exercises and other tools; and practical skills.
Signposts to community development.
Marilyn Taylor, Community Development Foundation, 1992.
Makes community development understandable in under 40 pages: a considerable
Tenant participation in housing management.
Institute of Housing and Tenant Participation Advisory Service, 1989.
A guide to good practice based on research undertaken by Glasgow University.
Covers the legal requirements of participation in housing; the pattern of
participation found in research; the process; the participants; outcomes
and achievements; and standards and performance.
The innovator's handbook.
Vincent Nolan, Penguin, 1989.
A volume which brings together books on problem solving, communication and
teamwork written by the chairman of consultants Synectics Limited.
The Tao of Leadership.
John Heider, Wildwood House, 1985.
The author takes the 2500-year-old Chinese classic the Tao Te Ching - source
of `The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step' - and shows
its relevance for leaders (and facilitators) today. A reminder that little
Training and how not to panic.
Community Education Training Unit, 1992.
A set of practical guidelines for people involved in training work with
community groups, voluntary organisations and local authorities. Covers
setting up and planning training events; running the training; exercises
and role plays; doubts and difficulties.
Training and how to enjoy it.
Community Education Training Unit, 1989.
A collection of training exercises devised by people working in and for
community groups and voluntary organisations. The exercises cover groups
and meetings; publicity and campaigning; equal opportunities; finance and
funding; planning and problem solving.
Charles Handy, Penguin, 1993.
Charles Handy is the most accessible of the management gurus. He is always
readable, understands the voluntary sector, and puts people first. This
book deals with key issues like culture, motivation, leadership, power and
so offers insights into what makes organisations participatory or non-participatory.
Understanding Voluntary Organisations is also available in Penguin.
Using management games.
Chris Elgood, Gower, 1990.
Guidance on developing training games, simulation and exercises.
Voluntary but not amateur.
Duncan Forbes, Ruth Hayes and Jacki Reason, London Voluntary Service Council,
A guide to the law for voluntary organisations and community groups covering
responsibilities as an organisation; employment; premises; insurance; fundraising;
accounts; public activities; computers; facing closure.
Warren Feek, Bedford Square Press, 1988.
How to improve an organisation's self-awareness, motivation, performance
(and appeal to funders) by using evaluation techniques.
Yes or no: the guide to better decisions.
Spencer Johnson, Harper Collins,1992.
Neatly uses the analogy of a journey to illustrate the main processes of
decision-making. See Yes or no in the A-Z section.
Your organisation: what is it for?
John Argenti, McGraw Hill, 1993.
Argues strongly that all organisations must identify beneficiaries, set
performance indicators which ensure value is delivered to them, and create
governing bodies which represent their interests.
Information correct at March 1994 - call organisations before writing.
ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England)
Gloucestershire GL7 1TW
tel: 01285 653477
The national contact point for 38 county-based Rural Community Councils.
Association of Community Technical Aid Centres (ACTAC)
64 Mount Pleasant,
Liverpool L3 5SD
tel: 0151 708 7607
ACTAC provides training, consultancy and project support to local groups
as well as representing a national network of professionals who provide
local technical support.
Association of Community Trusts and Foundations
High Holborn House,
52-54 High Holborn,
London WC1V 6RL
tel: 0171 831 0033
The national body representing fundraising and grant-making Community Trusts.
Association of Metropolitan Authorities
35 Great Smith Street,
London SW1P 3BJ
tel: 0171 222 8100
Represents metropolian local authorities. Published a recent report on local
authorities and community development - see Useful Publications.
Civic Trust Regeneration Unit
17 Carlton House Terrace,
London SW1Y 5AW.
tel: 0171 930 0914
The Unit runs a Winning Partnerships programme as well offering consultancy
on urban regeneration partnerships .
Community Development Foundation
60 Highbury Grove,
London N5 2AG
tel: 0171 226 5375
A non-departmental public body which aims to strengthen communities by influencing
policy, promoting best practice and supporting community initiatives.
Community Education Development Centre
Coventry CV2 3JS
tel: 01203 638660
The national focus for community education in the UK. Their Resources catalogue
is a useful mail order source of books and other materials in the field.
Community Education Training Unit
Halifax HX1 3AG
tel: 01422 357394
Produces excellent packs on training and facilitation.
Community Land and Workspace Services (CLAWS)
61 - 71 Collier St,
London N1 9DF.
tel: 0171 833 2909
Gives building, landscape design and architectural advice to community groups.
See Design Game in the A-Z section.
8/9 Upper Street,
London N1 OPQ.
tel: 0171 226 0189
A membership network of 800 local community organisations, providing information,
advice, and training.
Community Operational Research Unit
Barnsley S75 3ET
tel: 01226 285426
Assists community groups by applying many of the techniques featured in
Croner Publications Ltd
Kingston upon Thames,
Surrey KT2 6SR
tel: 0181 547 3333
Publishers of Management of Voluntary Organisations.
Development Trusts Association
20 Conduit Place,
London W2 1HZ.
tel: 0171 706 4951
The national umbrella organisation for community-based development organisations.
Directory of Social Change
London NW3 1HL
tel: 0171 435 8171
Independent national charity which runs a wide range of training courses
and produces practical handbooks. Also produces a publications catalogue
including some other titles quoted in this guide.
Environment Council, The
21 Elizabeth Street,
London SW1W 9RP
tel: 0171824 8411
Runs training sessions and an Environmental Resolve consultancy programme
of consensus building.
85/87 Cornwall Street,
Birmingham B3 3BY
tel: 0121 236 8565
The Foundation funds and support a network of 34 local Groundwork Trusts,
which are public, private and voluntary partnerships engaged in environmental
Information for Action Ltd
PO Box 277,
Brighton BN1 4PF
tel: 01273 724575
A software consultancy which produces the specialist Cata-LIST database
designed for community groups.
Lincolnshire Wolds Publications
Caistor LN7 6UE.
tel: 01472 851558
Publish Community enterprise from the bottom up.
Local Government Management Board
Luton LU1 2TS
tel: 01582 451166
Represents and supports local authorities through research, training and
London Voluntary Service Council
68 Chalton Street,
London NW1 1JR
tel: 0171 388 0241
Publishes a number of the books on management of voluntary organisations
mentioned in this guide.
National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service
177 Arundel Court,
Sheffield S1 2NU.
tel: 01742 786636
Will provide details of your local Council for Voluntary Service, which
will be a contact point for voluntary organisations in your area.
National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)
8 Regents Wharf,
All Saints Street,
London N1 9LR
tel: 0171 713 6161
The national body for the voluntary sector.
National Extension College
18 Brooklands Avenue,
Cambridge CB2 2HN
tel: 01223 316644
Publications and courses.
Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation
Telford TF3 3QN
tel: 01952 590777
See Planning for Real in the A-Z section. NIF sells a range of packs and
also offers consultancy support on participation.
Newcastle Architecture Workshop Ltd
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4XN.
tel: 0191 261 7349
The workshop is an educational charity providing an environmental education
and community technical aid and design service. See Awareness through to
action under Useful Publications.
13 Pelham Square,
Brighton BN1 4ET
Offers consultancy and training on participation and partnership organisations;
where you can contact the author of this guide. David Wilcox firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning Aid for London
5 Calvert Avenue,
London E2 7JP.
tel: 0171 613 4435.
Provides advice on town planning issues and encourages people to become
involved in shaping their environment. Can provide addresses of similar
Priority Focus Team
Sheffield S1 2HH
tel: 01742 734024
See Priority Search in the A-Z section.
Radical Improvements for Peripheral Estates (RIPE)
C/o Middlesbrough Borough Council,
Middlesbrough TS1 2RU.
tel: 01642 245432
Published Limbering up, a study of community empowerment on peripheral housing
Royal Institute of British Architects
Community Architecture Resource Centre,
66 Portland Place,
London W1N 4AD
tel: 0171 580 5533.
The resource centre organises training for community groups developing building
and environmental projects, and administers a fund for groups undertaking
feasibility studies. Also supplies information on architects who will help
School for Advanced Urban Studies
Bristol BS8 4EA
tel: 01272 741117
Research, consultancy, training and publications, including work on issues
of participation and partnership.
Shell Better Britain Campaign
Birmingham B43 5BR
tel: 0121 358 0744
A partnership of 15 organisations with Shell UK, providing information,
grants and advice to local groups. The free Guide to a Better Britain is
an excellent source of ideas and help about community-based environmental
Standing Conference for Community Development
356 Glossop Road,
Sheffield S10 2HW
tel: 01742 701718
A `network of networks' for activists, paid workers and organisations in
the field. Call for details and local contacts.
Sheffield Science Park,
Sheffield S1 2NS
tel: 01742 724140
Supplies software for the Strategic Choice decision-making technique.
Tenant Participation Advisory Service
48 The Crescent,
Salford M5 4NY
tel: 0161 745 7903
The national organisation promoting and supporting tenant participation.
Volunteer Centre UK
29 Lower Kings Road,
Herts HP4 2AB
tel: 01442 873311
Runs courses for people working with volunteers, provides help and advice
to groups, and publishes useful materials.