Structural deficiencies

You are the manager of a small charity and have got a great idea for a new project that would help people in your local area. You approach the person responsible for your sector at the local council, and they say: “That sounds great, we’re running another round of voluntary sector grants next year, why don’t you apply?”

Alternatively, you are an informal group of people who use an NHS service and have got some practical ideas about how things could be improved. You approach the person responsible for involvement (if you can find out who they are). They inform you that there’s a meeting in a few weeks where you can provide your feedback on the latest strategic plan.

Continued at The Guardian Public Leaders Network.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Structural deficiencies

  1. David, It’s a pity the Guardian article allows no comment. I’ve been in this situation repeatedly as a social enterprise. Not only approaching the local council but also RDA and social enterprise support agencies.

    One can develop detailed business plans, bring up ideas in public meetings, raise public questions at council meetings and finally challenge them in the media.

    Local funding is inclined to disappear in evaluation and consultancy rather than tangible projects. It’s a crony culture, perhaps involving freemasons. In a small community that’s difficult to conceal.

    This will be the primary obstacle to any kind of local devolution, as one meets head on with those who aren’t in the least inclines to let go of the gravy train.

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  2. beanbagsandbullsh1t

    Well, Jeff. There may or may not be crony culture in some instances but my concern is with the majority of people in the public sector who are fair-minded and well-intentioned but aren’t currently able to engage with community as productively as they’d like to.

    In the examples in the article – a white label version of some of the experiences of my organisation and people that we work with – the key problem is that the mechanisms for both understanding local needs and responding to them aren’t flexible enough to do the job.

    Engaging with the community isn’t code for ‘give us some money’. It can involve providing money but it can also involve working together to bring in money from elsewhere and working together to make better use of existing resources. And it’s these latter functions that will be more important over the coming years.

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