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Local engagement in democracy Findings and implications from Pathways through Participation 18 th October 2011 Twitter: #pthwys.

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Presentation on theme: "Local engagement in democracy Findings and implications from Pathways through Participation 18 th October 2011 Twitter: #pthwys."— Presentation transcript:

1 Local engagement in democracy Findings and implications from Pathways through Participation 18 th October 2011 Twitter: #pthwys

2 Available from:

3 How and why does participation begin, continue and stop? Research questions Can trends and patterns of participation be identified over time? What connections, if any, are there between different forms and episodes of participation and what triggers movement between them?

4 Approach 3 field work areas: Leeds Enfield Suffolk Individual at the heart Qualitative research 101 in-depth interviews Participation as ‘situated practice’ Stakeholder engagement Life stories

5 What is participation? Social participation: the collective activities that individuals are involved in Public participation: the engagement of individuals with the various structures and institutions of democracy Individual participation: people’s individual actions and choices that reflect the kind of society they want to live in

6 Why participation starts An emotional reaction A personal life event An external influence Practical resources Learnt resources Felt resources Groups and organisations Local environment and place Helping others Developing relationships Exercising values & beliefs Having influence For personal benefit Being part of something

7 Why participation continues or stops Friendships Life event Relationships Time Health Enjoyment Impact Energy

8 The factors that shape participation Individual motivations and resources Relationships and social networks Groups and organisations Local environment and place Wider societal and global influences

9 Trends and patterns of participation over time Critical moments Life stage Priorities

10 Conclusions Participation is personal Participation can be encouraged, supported & made more attractive Significant barriers to participation are entrenched

11 Briefing paper Also available from:

12 Local engagement in democracy Social participation: the collective activities that individuals are involved in Public participation: the engagement of individuals with the various structures and institutions of democracy Individual participation: people’s individual actions and choices that reflect the kind of society they want to live in

13 Local engagement in democracy The language and image The accessibility The practice

14 Language and image Perceptions of activities were important Perceptions of the political system But perceptions can be overcome Not ‘political’ Voting a ‘civic duty’ Safe seats discourage political participation Politicians seen as self-serving Positive opinions of particular political representatives Low levels of trust and confidence

15 Practice Opportunities to participate Negative experiences of public consultations Perceptions of impact No examples of public bodies proactively engaging with people Examples of bringing about change through lobbying Tokenistic and/or repetitious Decision already made People wanted to see the impact of their participation Tension between motivation of citizens and needs of public bodies

16 Accessibility Opportunities to participate People’s resources Relationships and groups Need to complement people’s lives Need to respond to their needs motivations and expectations A lack of resources stop people from participating Sometimes due to systemic inequalities Groups important source of public participation Relationships can determine success of participation

17 Language and image PracticeAccessibility Increase impact of individual’s vote Engage with citizens on their terms Value, respect and resource those already actively engaged Involve people early and be genuine Understand people’s motivations and be flexible Show the impact and limit the cost of participation Show that people will be welcome and valued Support social participation Work with those actively engaged to connect with others Recognise what is easy and difficult to influence Implications

18 What has particularly struck you? What are the implications? What else do we need to know? Group discussion


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