Training for participation

I've already sketched this idea in a comment on another thread, but thought it was worth making a headline issue of.

There is a real issue with equality of access to participation in community level politics. Many people are time-poor, which is an issue which must be addressed separately; but many lack the articulacy and self-confidence to put themselves forward.

We need to build capacity, which not only means providing the people elected to community councils with the necessary skills but also those considering standing; and the cost of this training must be met out of the public purse, free to participants. Furthermore, it needs to be high-quality, attractive training, something which people will want to take part in. It needs to concentrate on confidence building, articulacy, analytic skills, team-work and conflict resolution, not dull grey lectures on the arcana of planning law.

There need to be free accommodation, easily available bursaries for transport, and quality creche facilities and activities for children.

 

Why the contribution is important

Without up-skilling and building confidence in people from less advantaged grous, we will not get broad representative participation in local democracy. Furthermore, without appropriate skills, community councils will be (remain) significantly less effective.

by SimonBrooke on August 21, 2018 at 12:08PM

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Comments

  • Posted by LocalGovernanceAdmin September 20, 2018 at 10:34

    A well thought out idea raised by Simon. Interested to hear if you (Simon) or others have any more thoughts on how this could work in practice.
  • Posted by MJReid November 20, 2018 at 14:33

    Each Local Authority area has a TSi - a Third Sector Interface. These TSis could be funded to provide the necessary training/lifelong learning/personal development. With support from other Third Sector organisations, including local colleges, there could be a national programme of local learning put in place relatively easily. It would have to be fully inclusive and accessible to all citizens, but there is already the beginnings of an Inclusive Communication Hub in place paid for by the Scottish Government.

    Access Panels and Community Councils could also be involved as statutory democratic organisations.
  • Posted by Aspinall November 29, 2018 at 15:48

    I agree with this comment and give the example that in my area there isn't even compulsory training of community council office bearers who often have no experience of conducting meetings. This results in an unclear start and end of meetings, lack of accuracy in minute taking, no agreement of minutes as a correct record, no recording of apologies given for non-attendance and those who shout loudest being heard above others with worthwhile contributions.
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