This article is a offshoot from Defra Third Sector Strategy - consultation responses focusing on questions 14 to 18
Quick links - Main article - Q2-6 - Q14-18

Strengthening communities Edit

Q14 How best could Defra help third sector organisations to encourage their members and communities to choose greener living? (p21)

  • There seems little tie-in with Communities and Local Government initiatives on community empowerment, and especially participatory budgeting.
  • If personal and community actions (particularly regarding communities of place) are seen as separate it might be argued that this is a false division - unrealistic in terms of how citizens actually experience their lives in a more joined up way - weakening the overall Strategy.
  • There might also be an argument that a properly resourced program about community action for local sustainability and climate change would be more effective than expecting individuals to change behaviour without peer group and other forms of collective or community support.

Q15 How best could Defra help third sector organisations to champion climate change and the environment in local partnership negotiations and in preparing regional strategies? (p22)

  • Recognition of challenges facing Defra in respect of much needed improvements to local partnership arrangements is welcome, however the proposed solutions do not seem necessarily appropriate or adequate. In particular recognising that "Many local areas already have committed and thriving environmental or sustainability forums, networks and thematic partnerships which need to be fully engaged in Local Strategic Partnerships and their work." on its own does not inspire confidence that central government appreciates the scale of the challenge involved in actually making it so. Nor does the absence of specifics as to how this will be achieved.
  • A forum for meta or strategic issues re local sustainability, as described in response to Q2-6, could help get such issues more effectively addressed.

Empowering local civic society to influence resources Edit

  • Research has shown that LSPs have in the past tended to ignore community groups (including for example Local Agenda 21 groups) because they are perceived as not bringing any ('real') resources to the table. For local sustainability groups to play a full role in LSPs a way needs to be found to persuade more establishment stakeholders and particularly local government to allow more genuine influence over what they see as real resources, which would appear to be consistent with CLG's advancement of participatory budgeting. Cisco in The Connected Republic 2.0: New Possibilities & New Value for the Public Sector, [1] uses the phrase 'empower the edge'.
  • In so far as the recommendations of the Power of Information review are seen as having merit, Defra and CLG should ensure similar principles are followed at the local level, and particularly in respect of local strategic partnerships. For example LSPs (as well as central government departments) should be clearly seen to avoid duplication of existing user-generated material and/or ....complement citizen-led endeavours.

Q16 In what ways can Defra help improve the effectiveness of engagement with the third sector in rural areas? (p22)

Q17 Are there any good models of effective rural partnerships that include third sector organisations, which the sector could learn from? (p22)

Q18 Do you consider there would be value in Defra supporting a programme that engaged a range of volunteers in the work of Defra and its Executive Agencies? How can this best be developed? (p22)

  • The focus appears to be on formal volunteering, such that the value of active citizenship outside formal volunteering for example via social networks, seems under - appreciated.
  • In line with its response to Recommendation 3 of the Power of Information review, which the government accepts, Defra should be clearly seen to avoid duplication of existing user-generated material and/or ....complement citizen-led endeavours.

Quick links - Main article - Q2-6 - Q14-18

References Edit

  1. The Connected Republic 2.0: New Possibilities & New Value for the Public Sector

Glossary Edit

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