A well-used phrase of mine – which bewilders my kids – is: if a tree falls in a forest and no-one’s around to hear it, how do you know it’s fallen?
It’s not intended as a philosophical question. In a work context, it’s used to stress the importance of letting people know what you’re doing, rather than just doing it and expecting a response.
So, if you’re creating a website, let people know it’s there. If a council makes plans that affect people’s lives, telling them early and offering a chance to feedback should be part of that process.
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? It is to us, and colleagues and clients work every day to engage the public on important things that affect their lives.
Looking more widely, however, there remains a gap created by complexity and exacerbated by a lack of awareness.
Continue reading “Why engagement needs to change”
“This [deal] puts us in the Premiership in terms of major city regions in the UK. It’s going to be good for the whole population in terms of jobs, housing and transport.
“It also addresses some of the issues such as poverty, fairness and equality.”
A conversation about how the West of England can take control of its destiny may be starting to happen. And not before time…
After years of discussions, a devolution deal with Government promises to give the area’s local authorities more power over important issues like housing, transport, planning and skills. If ratified, it would unlock £1bn for local growth projects and provide councils with clout to make a bigger difference in these areas.
But there’s a sticking point for some that could derail the deal before it gets going. The government wants to see a ‘metro mayor’, who would chair a combined authority to oversee a joined-up response to the way these major matters are managed. Given the level of concern about this, it’s not certain that all councils will sign off on the deal.
This presents a potentially embarrassing situation where the councils who have shaped the deal on the table may reject it in the final event.
Continue reading “Devolution deal or no deal?”
Three Ways To Get Cool Stuff Done Quickly At Work – Paul Taylor blog
Ever wondered how you’re going to get ‘that idea’ off the ground, when obstacles litter the path to its progress? It’s the sort of thing Bromford‘s Paul Taylor and Monmouthshire County Council’s Helen Reynolds have touched on before, so it’s only right they’ve come together on this post which has generated good comments since it was first written. I particularly like the tactic of asking opponents of a decent proposal to develop a business case for not doing something to demonstrate the case against it. After all, if an idea is good enough to fly…
Follow these guys on Twitter: @PaulBromford and @HelReynolds.
A new acronym hit the media today, with the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (or NPPF), which doesn’t really trip off the tongue but has set them wagging all the same.
The new system, announced today, sets out proposals to simplify planning, which is seen by the Government as vital in creating sustainable and thriving communities in this country.
It was debated on the radio early this morning as I drove to Hampshire, and on the way home at the end of the day. And it has had a variety of reaction from the Conservative-supporting Telegraph, which has campaigned against elements of the changes, to The Guardian, which has been more sanguine today.
You can read the documents behind the headlines and make up your own mind about it.
I blogged last month about an inspiring community-led scheme in High Bickington, Devon, which has brought villagers together to deliver badly needed housing and workspace for local people.
I was delighted this morning to read the two-page write-up Planning magazine had devoted to the project, following a visit and some interviews organised at the site a few weeks ago.
The link is not yet up on the website, so I can not provide this. But the coverage highlighted the project’s ‘local’ credentials, which predate the Government’s localism and Big Society agendas by the best part of a decade.
It’s great to see the project, and the role of the HCA in its delivery, recognised by the industry. I will try to provide links to the coverage when they are available!