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									Change Up – Active Citizenship Sub-Group Project Plan Sept 2005

c/o Kate Monkhouse, Director & Helen Marsh, Civic Engagement Co-ordinator

London Civic Forum, 18a Victoria Park Square, London E2 9PB
020 8709 9770 info@londoncivicforum.org.uk www.londoncivicforum.org.uk

How the proposal advances ChangeUp objectives and why it is a high priority

The Ministerial foreword to the ChangeUp strategy document talks about the
importance of skills and support for people to become active in their communities and
renewing civil society. Community - or civic - leadership (non-elected) is a critical
cornerstone to this Government‟s vision for civil renewal, to the infrastructure of the
voluntary and community sector and therefore to ChangeUp‟s success. Alongside the
provision or additional resources for communities, we need also to be investing in the
capability of leaders and representatives who can strengthen the effectiveness of the
sector. These kinds of skills are critical in supporting the kinds of infrastructure,
partnership working and outcome aspirations of the whole ChangeUp project.

Rational for need of project

Many individuals who set up community projects or who work for voluntary and
community organisations are prevented from achieving their potential or having a
voice because they find it hard to access the support they need:
a) there is a lack of formal recognition of how effective learning done in situ is;
b) there is also a lack of understand of what kinds of learning methods really make a
difference to individuals and organisations‟ ability to sustain involvement in
Community Empowerment Networks (CEN), Primary Care Trusts (PCT), Community
Police Consultative Groups (CPCG), community forums etc (the result of people
being able to sustain involvement in this manner would result in an improvement in
public service delivery to meet the needs of local communities);
c) there is also a gap with existing infrastructure‟s ability to cater for the types of
learning that are valued ((e.g. learning sets, action based reflective practice etc).
d) there is a need to adapt knowledge about how things work (e.g. regional
governance, how to influence policy etc) to make the most of people‟s potential.

How we will address these

We will look at what types of civic skills learning is being accessed and compare this
with what people actually need. We look at the gaps and what could be adapted from
models that the voluntary and community sector excels at, such as self-help or
advocacy. We will look at how this approach could be integrated into existing
provision, perhaps through local and sub-regional ChangeUp plans as well as
through mainstream provision. We will look at edge that individuals need (making
effective contributions to developing Local Area Agreements, 2012 planning
processes etc) and core „curriculum‟ ideas. We also want to test the viability of a


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London Civic Forum organisational engagement audits scheme for community
organisations.




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Definition of Active Citizenship

“Citizens taking opportunities to become actively involved in defining and tackling,
with others, the problems of their communities and improving their quality of life.
Active citizenship is one of three key elements of civil renewal… [The other two being
defined as] „strengthened communities‟ and „partnership in meeting public needs‟.”
Home Office Firm Foundations Framework for Community Capacity Building,
December 2004

This might include:
   - Participation in local organisations to secure social, economic and
      environmental improvements
   - Contributing to the development and planning of public services and resource
      allocation
   - Engagement in decision making activities through local community groups and
      forums
   - Seeking to influence the social policy of organisations

Definition of Civic Skills

Civic skills that enable participation at all levels to be more effective.
These include: (working list from London Civic Forum)
   - Knowledge of institutions and structures that represent different communities
       or have particular responsibilities
   - Ability to apply that knowledge effectively to benefit own community or
       organisation. This might include knowing how to access support, create
       partnership or establish connections with other stakeholders
   - Techniques to take part in consultation or policy development exercises in a
       manner that effectively represents or demonstrates experience and expertise
   - Participating in networks and with other colleagues to build support
       infrastructures
   - Developing personal confidence and communication skills to take part in
       meetings, forums and committees

Links with other ChangeUp sub-groups

Equalities sub-group – The equalities sub-group is looking at how different equalities
groups could share accommodation and other resources. The Civic Skills audit will
include questioning about how important it is for learning to be tailored to individual
groups or communities and when it is better to do things on a generic or open-access
basis.
Workforce development sub-group – The Civic Skills audit will look at learning that
has taken place within organisations as part of training, learning that has been
accredited or recognised in some way and more informal learning that would not
normally be counted. This will be useful to consider appropriate links to management,
leadership or other mainstream training provision.


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Outline of timetable

Please supporting task schedule (attached) which runs through dates from Autumn
2005 to late Spring 2006, as well as breakdown of who is responsible.

This project will now run alongside two other pieces of work at the Civic Forum:
   - evaluation of the Civic Forum‟s Active Learning for Active Citizenship project
   - dissertation looking at the transition from voluntary activity to civic
       representation
Both of these are different to the ChangeUp work but will add value to its findings.

The steering group would be made up of (invited):
   - One Council for Voluntary Service (CVS), one black minority ethnic or refugee
      organisation (BMER) – maybe Black Londoners Forum?, one advocacy or
      advice group, one tenants/residents group and one trainer
   - Plus One campaigner/think-tank, one funder, Business in the Community,
      National Council for Voluntary Organisations and one representative from the
      ChangeUp workforce development sub-group

Optional
We want to consider the added value of hosting discussion seminars with other
voluntary sector stakeholders to present ideas and reflect on integration methods
within mainstream provision. Rather than only 2 small focus groups to test the
findings, we feel that it would be important to expand this part of the work to reflect
with a wider groups of stakeholders from the voluntary and community sector. We
feel that this is critical to ensuring the learning from this investment is understood and
can be applied in a range of different contexts with the sector. It would also help to
identify in more detail where the opportunities for and barriers to effective
implementation lie and the links with the next two years worth of capacity building
through the ChangeUp process.

Circulation List

Mail-out printed guidance to networks - CVS, CEN, Voluntary Sector Forum, MiNet,
Third Sector Alliance, London Voluntary Service Council, second tiers & ChangeUp
consortium and selected Civic Forum members

Outputs

We would deliver:
   Survey of 50 VCS organisations and 20-30 interviews
   2 round-table discussions with participants and policy makers
   1 written report, including guidance for organisations
   10 summary case-profiles



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Impact on smaller and marginalised communities, including BMER

This project is focused wholly around these groups, as they are often the ones to
whom formal training can be problematic in a number of ways. Many of the
participants in the process will come from less-well established groups where in-
depth knowledge of how London‟s complex processes is not yet developed. We will
also include equalities considerations to incorporate a cross-section of all equalities
strands (gender, sexuality, faith, age, disability and ethnicity).

Who will carry out the work and whether it will be put out to tender

The project will be overseen and carried out by London Civic Forum. We would put
the work for consultants out to tender for the design and training, but we would do the
interviews and survey in-house to strengthen learning within the sector through the
project itself.

People working on the project will be:
Kate Monkhouse, Director
Helen Marsh, Civic Engagement Co-ordinator
Projects Organiser, to be recruited

Budget

Please see attached spreadsheet

It is suggested that two additional options are considered:
Expenses and time for steering group partners from community organisations:
(this was suggested by the sub-group)
This would be estimated at 2 days input per person x 5 people = 10 days
We would recommend £250 per day = £2500 addition

Vouchers for interviewees and completed surveys @ £10 = £500

Seminar series with different stakeholders to consider the findings of the research:
Additional costs to cover extra staff time, room hire & refreshments = £2000
(this is to support the dissemination of the learning across the sector as a whole)

Outline of methodology

We would use a participatory approach as much as possible, involving participants in
an active way to shape the process, rather than as passive interviewees. We will
target individuals within community organisations with a survey to test common
assumptions about civic skills and community leadership within organisational
context and uptake of current training on offer. Then semi-structured interviews will
explore more in-depth issues about what kinds of infrastructure is available to
support engagement and what provision would be more effective for them to
participate. These will be recorded.


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Results (respecting confidentiality) will be shared with participants to explore whether
the findings really reflect their experiences. A round table with the steering group will
make observations about links the wider ChangeUp process, links into local and sub-
regional plans and the role of the Civic Forum‟s proposed engagement audits.

The summary report will provide an analysis of the gaps in current provision with
recommendations of how these can be filled throughout years 2 & 3 of the
ChangeUp/Capacity Builders process.

Sample guidance with mini-cases of best practice will be included for readers to
adapt to their own situations and plans. A presentation will be made at a regional
consortium meeting to share the findings.

Monitoring and Evaluation

 The Civic Forum will choose appropriate monitoring and evaluation methods to
assess:
   - range of participating interviewees
   - range of respondents to survey
   - progress on project timescale (monitored by project manager)
   - quality of events, presentation and written materials
   - equalities considerations (via monitoring participation and access issues)
   - staff members‟ own learning and skills levels (via learning log)
   - production of useful guidance to time and budget
   - level of buy-in from other stakeholders




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