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Civil society strategy Policy Labs

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A summary of the Policy Lab sessions creating a future Civil Society Strategy for the Office for Civil Society in the Uk Government.

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Civil society strategy Policy Labs

  1. 1. Civil Society Strategy Labs Write-up May 2018
  2. 2. Strategy Labs Birmingham Leicester From 27 February to 22 May 2018, the DCMS Office for Civil Society launched an online platform for a Civil Society Strategy Engagement Exercise. A new strategy is being developed through open dialogue across sectors as the team build upon experiences from the past and shape the future of government’s work with and for civil society. The policy team asked Policy Lab to: ● Produce a set of materials which could be used to stimulate this ● Demonstrate the use of those materials to host discussions in four locations around the country ● Report on their findings ● Provide a visual record of the process, so participants can be clear that their views informed the strategy London York We facilitated events in: We designed a set of activities for the DCMS toolkit. They facilitated participants: ● to consider what civil society looks like now, and how it could look in 2030 ● to understand the challenges that need to be addressed to reach our ideal end state ● to ‘roadmap’ actions that can be taken by individuals, groups and government.
  3. 3. Birmingham 11 April This deck provides a summary of what Policy Lab heard in Birmingham - it does not reflect government policy
  4. 4. A visualisation of the discussion by Zuhura Plummer (@ZedPea). This is available, on request, as a high quality image.
  5. 5. “ We started with discussion on our ideal end state, i.e. what does civil society look like in 2030. Here’s what we heard: In 2030, people are motivated to take their own action. They do not wait until they are asked, nor do they wait for permission. They have pride in their local area. Schools and education encourages and facilitates local action. Leaders visit places in person and are attuned to local need. Partnership models are not top down, they empower people to take action. Local and national governments are facilitators, creating forums to come together in partnership. There is a culture of sharing experience and listening to community voices. Discussion - Birmingham
  6. 6. Roadmap - Birmingham 1
  7. 7. Roadmap - Birmingham 1 P E O P L E How can we make it easier for people to become active - or play a part - in civil society? Individuals can act as ambassadors who showcase/role-model active citizenship so that people become aware of civil society and the role they play. Groups (like the NCS) can be ready to take people in who want to be active and refer them to other causes/activities/social action that might be interesting to them. Government can act as a steward, educating people about what civil society is, how it is relevant to them and why they should take part. Government should make it part of the national curriculum, giving civil society an equal importance to STEM. P L A C E How can we create the “space” for communities to share power and responsibilities locally? Individuals can celebrate the small stuff, encouraging others, having community events and celebrations. Groups can set up spaces on local group servers to act as fora for conversations and advertising the availability of resources. Government an act as a provider, educating young people on the importance of local engagement. P A R T N E R S H I P How can we help partnerships come together around a shared mission? Individuals can create a social enterprise to tackle a local issue. Groups can create and build cross-secor structures and forums. Government can act as a steward, sharing what we are doing and what we hear others are doing (especially exciting innovative practice).
  8. 8. Roadmap - Birmingham 2
  9. 9. Roadmap - Birmingham 2 P E O P L E How can we encourage individuals to embrace responsibility and influence as a citizen? Individuals don’t need to wait for permission to get involved. Groups can make connections between existing assets and people in the community. Government can act as a catalyst, teaching civics, rights and responsibilities at school. This would value local places and local people. P L A C E How can we focus on PLACES, not just service delivery? Individuals can take pride in where you live, try to understand what makes your community and the way it is. Groups can get involved in service design, telling government when they should step back Government an act as a collaborator, visiting local places in person, stopping the focus on London, listening and working with/for local people across the country. P A R T N E R S H I P How can we encourage connections between the private sector, civil society and public institutions that are equal? Individual leaders can acknowledge they don’t have all the answers and visit places in person. Groups can team up with local groups and use existing networks. Government can act as a collaborator, trusting that areas know their own solutions and that people closest to the issue understand it best.
  10. 10. Feedback - Birmingham Policy Lab is a space for experimentation with new methods in open policy making. We asked participants to provide us with feedback on how the sessions were run. We received feedback from 6 participants. Participants appreciated being able to contribute to the bigger picture and share experiences. The materials were useful stimulus for idea exchange. This was the first session and we adapted later workshops following a recommendation that we spend more time on the ‘roadmap’ exercise as there was a lot for participants to cover. The group also recommended a greater role for local teams to facilitate, with those from London clearly there to listen. In Leicester, London and York we adapted sessions accordingly.
  11. 11. Leicester 17 May This deck provides a summary of what Policy Lab heard in Leicester - it does not reflect government policy
  12. 12. A visualisation of the discussion by Zuhura Plummer (@ZedPea). This is available separately as a high quality image.
  13. 13. “ We started with discussion on our ideal end state, i.e. what does civil society look like in 2030. Here’s what we heard: In 2030, people are motivated to take part in civil society. They find ways to make community action a key part of their busy lives. Civil society is reflective of critical age dynamics, with young people engaged through technology and business models for philanthropy matching the ‘[online] communities of the future’. Civil society organisations do not compete with each other for funding, sharing key capabilities and shared services. ‘Connectors’ play a critical role, joining groups and initiatives together. Decisions are taken collaboratively and with a long-term view. Discussion - Leicester
  14. 14. Roadmap - Leicester 1
  15. 15. Roadmap - Leicester 1 P E O P L E How can we inspire and enable young people to make a difference? How do we help them channel their energy? Individuals can set the agenda, using their voice. Groups can use schools as a valuable forum to speak to young people. Government can look at the school curriculum, introducing politics and democracy earlier. We should consider ways to encourage more debate which is creative, inspirational and relevant. Local politicians can properly represent their constituents, using their power to effect change. Across government we can encourage youth representatives at every level (committees, councils etc). Government can also lower the voting age to 16. How can we address a lack of civic unity? - particularly helping the middle aged, those who are complacent and like the status quo. We need to think, specifically, about how we fit civil society action into the busy lives of these people. P L A C E How can we encourage local businesses to give back to their communities? We need to be conscious that the definition and interpretation of ‘place’ has changed, with young people finding community online. What does this mean for philanthropy of the future? Individuals can use their vote to hold politicians to account. Groups can identify people with shared goals and work together instead of competing Local government can build a sense of pride in local places (culture, creativity and community). P A R T N E R S H I P How can we bring together effective collaborations around specific issues (cross sectoral with common purpose)? Individuals living on the same street can seek out ways to share resources e.g. broadband access, lawnmowers etc. (n.b. Private rented sector is a barrier to this). Groups can hold intergenerational ‘conversations’. These should be convened with inclusive and digital participation. Government can tackle digital exclusion. Some people have no access and are excluded from services (e.g. universal credit), social interactions on digital platforms and financial services.
  16. 16. Roadmap - Leicester 2
  17. 17. Roadmap - Leicester 2 P E O P L E How can we help communities to have an equal voice? Everyone can use the internet and other channels to make connections between people, engaging and understanding, ensuring everyone has a voice and is part of the conversation. Groups can provide opportunities for all VCS groups (regardless of shape or size) to be valued. This could be through consortia. Government can act as a collaborator, using government expertise to share best practice to enable development of place locally. P L A C E How can we develop budgets that are pooled around ‘outcomes for people’, with funding controlled locally? We need to recognise that it takes 5-10 years to develop programmes. Businesses/local government can commission or procure ‘instagram’ or similar aps that will engage young people to have a voice/help plan local service delivery. Government can act as a legislator, embedding outcomes for people, embedding requirements for local strategies/plans (e.g. parish plans) to be reviewed and included. The builds in equity into a system of change. P A R T N E R S H I P How can we give organisations “time” to nurture change and develop working relationships with other sectors? Leaders of organisations need to talk about collaboration. Groups must be open to collaboration (you don’t have to lose your USP) - this means investing in themselves. Government, particularly OCS can act as a convenor, developing a longer term cross-government strategy that won’t change with each new government, making sure that it is based on the views of civil society and has cross party appeal.
  18. 18. Roadmap - Leicester 3
  19. 19. Roadmap - Leicester 3 P E O P L E How can we harness individual/community social action without ‘bogging’ people down with bureaucracy? Everyone can promote and empower individuals, listening more to young people. Government can give more focus to the NCS and schools. Groups can better identify needs/descriptions of roles e.g. trustees/volunteers. They can cooperate/coordinate better to assist/support each other. They can invest in time to understand each other and their potential to work together. Local government can act as a funder, valuing and funding infrastructure, seeing it as an investment in civil society. They can coordinate action to support issues e.g. GDPR to minimise wasted/duplicated effort. They can do more community asset transfers with support in transition. P L A C E How can we support local organisations to share the ‘building blocks’/enablers for social action (e.g. safeguarding policies, training and tech) High net worth individuals can use networks such as the lieutenancy/high sheriff to influence giving to support community action by groups and individually. Individual organisations can run an open office day, inviting other groups to come over for a cuppa and chat. Government can maximise on community assets. They could devolve more powers and funding to local level with experience, e.g. of civil society vision as part of Midlands engine. P A R T N E R S H I P How can we support the ‘connectors’ (e.g. neighbourhood development officers) to build networks and do the connecting? Everyone can encourage businesses to use their corporate social responsibility to fund local networks and facilitate connections. Eg. Tesco in Nottinghamshire fund a local partnership coordination. Government can trust the local community, acknowledging rural and urban.
  20. 20. Roadmap - Leicester 4
  21. 21. Roadmap - Leicester 4 P E O P L E How can we change the civil narrative to encourage individuals to look out towards their community? Individuals can be encouraged to step forwards, especially through training programmes to take an interest. Businesses can invest in apprenticeships and their communities. This can focus on more disadvantaged people. Charities can tell the story of the reality with in local communities to encourage support. They can give people knowledge on where to go with their wealth or support. Government can tweak business improvement district developments to facilitate those arrangements being affected in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. P L A C E How can we give civil society organisations a stable political/ governance environment to operate in? Government can facilitate cross-party agreement that arrangements stay in place after elections. One example could be strategic partnerships (2000s), community empowerment networks and local enterprise partnerships developed over the years. These were ripped up. P A R T N E R S H I P How can we ensure partnerships operating at different levels are: - Interconnected - Accountable - Transparent - Inclusive - Representative All parties can balance the same old vs a more diverse set of voices on local panels. In one area a tiny percent of funding goes to black community projects, yet the majority of children in the school system are non-white. Government can create a civil society ombudsman.
  22. 22. Feedback - Leicester Policy Lab is a space for experimentation with new methods in open policy making. We asked participants to provide us with feedback on how the sessions were run. We received feedback from 20 participants, with an average rating of 3.8 out of 5 for the event overall and 4 out of 5 (very good) for the supporting materials. Participants appreciated the engaging atmosphere, focus on solutions, discussion with their colleagues, being led through the process and, most significantly, the visual record of discussion.
  23. 23. London 18 May This deck provides a summary of what Policy Lab heard in London - it does not reflect government policy
  24. 24. A visualisation of the discussion by Zuhura Plummer (@ZedPea). This is available, on request, as a high quality image.
  25. 25. “ We started with a discussion on what civil society looked like now, which also merged into what it could be. Here’s what we heard: There was particular concern about the reduction in services for young people, with fewer places to go. Participants felt this should be addressed and that in the civil society of the future, young people would have a much stronger voice in their local community. There was interest in the potential for philanthropy, which participants felt was under-utilised. In the USA there was an expectation of giving which simply did not exist here. Participants felt the civil society of the future would involve greater local autonomy that allowed people to decide on their own futures. It would be easier to find out what was going on locally and to get involved. Discussion - London
  26. 26. Roadmap - London 1 P E O P L E How can we develop moral/ethical trusted leadership and a shared sense of accountability/ the value of all people Individuals can create opportunities for more social action led by young people. Accountability should be embedded in the culture of organisations and partnerships. Government ensures that the law is applied equally to all to demonstrate moral society. P L A C E How can we develop a shared understanding of the kind of communities we want to live in, whilst enabling local identities and responses Groups can collectively be confident and positive about communities Government can recognise role and context of place. P A R T N E R S H I P How can we partner in ways which recognise and make use of the resources of all partners Groups can speak up and be mature in their engagement. Leaders should recognise and value grass-roots knowledge and expertise. Government can think more holistically: see initiatives through - move away from political short-termism and focus on the long term; stop thinking about sectors and start thinking about the system Government and Civil Society leaders need to be clear about their expectation of the other and not assume this is so obvious that they both just know.
  27. 27. Roadmap - London 2 P E O P L E How can we make sure civil society can benefit from innovation sooner/ as much as the private sector Business can make CSR more skills-based. Volunteers’ time might be more effectively given through new digital forms of peer support. Government, business and the sector can create a more innovative development cycle Organisations can shake up board membership so that it is much more representative. A statement by Charity Commission can help set the right expectations about what is good risk. P L A C E How can we persuade more local philanthropists to support causes at a local level? Councillors and politicians can make better use of existing links, thinking about community assets to make better use of them. Social leaders can identify the right people in intermediary organisations who can help. Recipients of funding can help people understand where money is already going, for example by publishing data on giving, e.g. 360 degree giving Government should engage philanthropists strategically. P A R T N E R S H I P How can we create greater links between small/ local and large/national in a way that respects grass roots and is bottom-up For everyone involved, co-production should be the central principle of working. People can play a more specific role in creating data. e.g. web-enabled identification of need (homeless link). Government can use regulation to open up and publish more data and provide better infrastructure. Government and businesses can make it easier for people to give time. Project evaluation and comparison should be given the ‘wet Wednesday in Wigan’ test! Local Authorities can be clearer about different routes into/ links within the LA
  28. 28. Roadmap - London 3 P E O P L E How can we help people engage more with their communities and make sure it matters? Government and funders can shift the focus to evidencing ‘why’; focus on outcomes not outputs; collect the right data; question it regularly; resource the collection of data; and move away from headline statistics to focus where there is greatest need. Civil Society organisations should not lose sight of their specific offer P L A C E How can we help local communities take control? Funders should share intelligence more effectively and also fund preventative work Leaders in local Civil Society can create new structures at local level outside political cycles, moving towards the long-term view ie 100 year model not 5 year model, All organisations can look at international examples and bring ideas in. P A R T N E R S H I P How can we ensure lasting and useful partnerships? Funders should support the unfashionable and support core costs. Funders should recognise the value of grants.
  29. 29. York 21 May This deck provides a summary of what Policy Lab heard in York - it does not reflect government policy
  30. 30. “ Discussion - York We started with discussion on our ideal end state, i.e. what does civil society look like in 2030. Here’s what we heard: In 2030, a wide variety of people and organisation are engaged in civil society, both across distance and across sectors. Projects and initiatives learn from each other, ensuring that they don’t run the risk of ‘reinventing the wheel’. The region itself it broad and so there is considerable disparity between different local areas. With a strong sense of place, it was important to recognise that some - but not all - initiatives that worked elsewhere could work in this region. The comment at the London workshop about government’s ambivalence to the work but “just crack on” strongly resonated.
  31. 31. Roadmap - York 1
  32. 32. Roadmap - York 1 P E O P L E How can we support development of generous leadership? How can we engage with those people that are disengaged/not interested? Community-minded people/community activists are a key resource. Their efforts need to be appropriately recognised by groups/local government. Infrastructure organisations like NCVO, NAVCIA can genuinely facilitate culture change in the sector to spot collaborative new opportunities and seize them through things like phanthophy. Everyone can identify the real catalyst organisations in each area and invest long term in their work. Everyone can recognise the role of funders (e.g. community foundations, both public and private sector) and invest in VCSE to grow civil society and resource it. Government doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, recognising best practice and evolving movements. They can also ensure collective investment in leadership training for young people (would include things like public speaking, storytelling - e.g. ‘reclaim Manchester, Helsinki), elected leaders (including shared leadership) and community leaders (on how to articulate civil society actions). P L A C E How can we mobilise people around place? - Shared leadership - Collaboration - Deliberation Champions can find the generous leaders and support them to give to the wider ecosystem of support. Trusted local organisations can engage through things people are interested in. Once trust has been built, then people will be more into engagement in other things. Local authorities can develop social value policies, commissioning and procuring to maximise investment in civil society - not just the usual 10% of contracts but how it becomes the way we do things around here. P A R T N E R S H I P How can we develop purpose and clarity around partnership models? Together, we can reorganise with strength-based approaches respecting the value of local voice. As an ecosystem we can invest in the right type of capacity building - i.e. see the characteristics of successful TSOs - foresight, enterprise, governance and impact. The local authority, reflecting place shaping role, can facilitate the development of social action strategy and plan for the city: stating local priorities, plans and resources. Throughout, we need to think about how we can find long-term resources to support civil society
  33. 33. Roadmap - York 2
  34. 34. Roadmap - York 2 P E O P L E How can we design solutions that are based on a real understanding of needs and assets, involving decision makers and communities/ people? How can we help decision makers to change practices based on evidence available? Central Government can work with local efforts and not run separate, competing national projects. It should make data more available to tackle challenges. It can consider how wider capital investment in transport and economy can be mobilised to develop Civil Society. Local Authority CEO’s can convene placemakers to identify specific needs and drive momentum for action. Everyone can take greater responsibility in contributing to what is needed to improve their communities. P L A C E How can we create a sustainable and effective local infrastructure support model? Central Government should invest in regional and digital infrastructure; it should allow people on Universal Credit to volunteer without it impacting on their benefits. Civil Society sector needs to develop a clearer, stronger impact story and communicate it better. Local Councillors expertise should be better integrated into plans and actions. Big funders need to work with local authorities more, and devolve decision making. P A R T N E R S H I P How can we ensure civil society is resourced to have a voice? VCSEs can use unrealised funding to make ensure their voice is used and heard. Everyone can tell their story: about what we do to give back and what it does for us. Businesses can encourage staff to get involved and local engagement as a corporate responsibility. Funding should be available for people to become a local leader, setting up a business etc and becoming trustees.
  35. 35. Roadmap - York 3
  36. 36. Roadmap - York 3 P E O P L E How can we inspire people to take ownership of society? What’s our shared goal? Government, large organisations and the media can enable people to share their story, by giving them a platform. Everyone can share their story, either articulating or asking how have you shaped society? Government can listen to what people have to say, working with people and groups taking action as necessary - for example teach civic education, inspire young people, “don’t necessarily organise social action but don’t ban it either!” P L A C E How can we support, celebrate and value each other for shaping local places and driving change? Civil Society can address the motivation question: “If I participate, what will change?” Local Communities can recognise the value of community action organisations. Local and central government can give greater power to the local community, for welfare and public services. P A R T N E R S H I P How can we reshape partnerships between neighbours, business and voluntary organisations to drive social change? Individuals can connect with neighbours across social/ power boundaries to build social capital. Government, business and social action groups need time to develop trust. And need resources. There is an opportunity to find the community vision and the “winners”, recognising good practice (like the Cities of Service model). Government can create clear cross-departmental frameworks that are simple and which mandate behaviours. The current complicated systems of evidence can be revised, using data more effectively.
  37. 37. Feedback - York Policy Lab is a space for experimentation with new methods in open policy making. We asked participants to provide us with feedback on how the sessions were run. We received feedback from six participants Participants appreciated the opportunity to discuss the big picture, innovative facilitation, the ability to meet a wide range of colleagues and the structure of the sessions. Participants recommended investment in local leadership and involvement of community foundations.
  38. 38. CONTACT US For enquiries about the project, feedback or suggestions, contact us: Vasant Chari Vasant.Chari@cabinetoffice.gov.uk To find out more about Policy Lab Follow us on twitter (@PolicyLabUK) and check out our blog Further information