The ‘Well Connected’ approach was developed in 2006/7, firstly in response to a broad scale internal and external consultation initiative carried out by Lambeth Council in south London, to inform the development of a community engagement strategy, and secondly as part of my work on the roll out of a government agenda for Extended Schools, including extended services and Every Child Matters – a key UK government policy and strategy agenda arising out of the Children’s Act 2004.
The ‘Well Connected’ Cycle of Community Engagement ©
This approach to community engagement is strongly linked to ‘localism’ and (re)presenting the community of interest with a cycle of engagement. In this instance localism indicates an area / theme / issue, the community of interest are given information and options relating to why, where, and for how long in the cycle they can choose to engage or to be engaged.
The Well Connected approach to community engagement – an essential prerequisite for the development of ‘Community Hubs’, consists of 10 key Elements and Interventions, and 8 stages or ‘spokes’:
o Open, transparent and accessible lines of communication and information resources produced to a high standard.
Research and Analysis
o Empirical approach to identifying the make up of neighbourhoods, local communities or remits, their needs, aspirations, ambitions.
o 360˚ regular or ad hoc initiatives which are responsive in identifying local priorities, including options appraisals.
o Area / theme / issue based structures which involve local communities. (events, open meetings, workshops, related activities, forums)
o Programme or project based structures which facilitate ongoing participation. (steering groups, management committees, associations, director boards)
o Focused support and programme or project based initiatives which build capacity. (support, training, information, guidance, advice)
o Cascade power and control i.e. local communities design and deliver services and The Well Connected Elements and Interventions.
Policy and Strategy
o Identified priorities are built into remedial aspirational and ambitious ‘plans of action’ that are ongoing, open to learning, reflective, and dynamic. (stakeholders adopt the approach and invest resources in The Well Connected initiatives)
Based on more than 30 years experience, I design and deliver bespoke workshops, consultancies, and 1:1 sessions in a variety of formats for individuals, groups, and organizations. I help individuals groups and organizations to design and deliver their own ‘Well Connected’ approach to community engagement, so do get in touch if you think I can be of assistance.
A PDF copy of The Well Connected Cycle of Community Engagement discussion paper, featuring: 25 pages of considered thought, reflection, advice, useful links, scenarios, and a sample workshop resource with feedback – is available to download for £5.00.
Please use the Let’s do Business Contact Form in the main menu for information on how you can obtain your copy.