On 15 March 2012, Involve co-hosted with Consumer Focus a seminar exploring ‘where next for localism and co-production?’ The event brought together a group of 27 individuals from national government, local government, the voluntary and community sector, the social innovation field, academia and think tanks to explore some of the challenges and opportunities for localism and co-production in the coming years.
It drew upon recent primary research into participation and active citizenship – ‘Hands Up and Hands On’, launched at the event by Consumer Focus, and ‘Pathways through Participation’, by NCVO, IVR and Involve – as well as some case studies of localism and co-production being put into action.
The event started with a welcome and introduction from Alison Hopkins (Consumer Focus) and Edward Andersson (Involve), followed by a presentation of the findings and implications of the two pieces of research by Liz Coll (Consumer Focus) and Tim Hughes (Involve).
This was followed by responses from Marek Lubelski (Luton Borough Council) and Deirdre McGrath (London Civic Focum) and a buzz session, where participants spoke to their neighbours about the research.
Next on the agenda were five mini case studies of existing work where localism and/or co-production are being put into action:
- Caroline Miller spoke about the ‘Clissold Park User Group’ – a community group which gives a voice to park users.
- Deirdre McGrath spoke about the experience of supporting two, quite different, community groups to reopen libraries in a London borough.
- Marek Lubelski spoke about Luton Council’s work to transform the way it involves citizens – developing a dialogue with communities to identify and agree priorities, and negotiate how to approach them together.
- Mary Burguieres spoke about work beginning in two deprived areas of Surrey to change how public organisations interact with those communities – starting to co-create and co-produce with them.
- Frankie Hine-Hughes spoke about a project in Solihull which established a group of community champions, working with public organisations, to clear up the local area.
The seminar finished with participants splitting into groups to discuss the issues of power and inequality, conflict, the “usual suspects”, and efficacy and trust, and then feeding their thoughts back to everyone.
To find out more about what was discussed at the seminar, an event report can be found here: http://wherenextlocalism.posterous.com/