What does effective representation and accountability look like ? Does it look the same at local authority, ward and neighbourhood level? Can academic theory and research help? If there are differences, do we have the language to discuss them?
The next NANM open space workshop, Five models of localism: which are you?, is on Wednesday, 4 December 2013, 10:30 to 15:30 (coffee from 10:00) at The University of Manchester, Sackville Street Campus (nr Manchester Piccadilly Station), Manchester. You can book on-line at Eventbrite.
In their recent paper Who is accountable in localism? Liz Richardson (University of Manchester) and Catherine Durose (University of Birmingham) identify five models of local accountability based on new research and a review of existing literature. They call their first model the ‘British Political Tradition’ in which power and influence is hierarchical and public agencies see citizen involvement happening mainly at local elections when the public’s role is either as voter, or candidate. Community participation efforts therefore focus only on encouraging more people to stand for election, or to turn out and vote.
At the other end of their scale they describe a model which constantly seeks the public’s involvement as decision makers and problem solvers. In this model, local public bodies see power as coming from many directions and their own role is one of mobiliser, enabler, and convenor.
It is self-evident most of those involved in neighbourhood working aspire to an enabling model. But how can we test the extent that practical experiences of communities match what we aspire to?
That is the question that we’ll explore during the workshop.
To start Liz Richardson will introduce us to the five models she and Catherine Durose have proposed, and explain how they are intended as a practical guide or diagnostic to enable others to test what models of local accountability exist in practice.
We will then convene open space discussions to enable participants to identify which model they think they are working in themselves. This will be a participative day and we hope everyone attending will contribute from their own first hand experiences.
You can find out more about the event and book your place on our page on Eventbrite.
We have funding to cover the costs of this event, which means we can make it free to attend. But we will gratefully accept contributions towards the cost of catering and logistics. Our suggested contribution is £10, which would also entitle you to become a member of the NANM for two years from the date of the event.