Interesting day today spent at a conference in Kent for Elected Members. We spent the day talking about, as the title says, making localism a reality. My slides from my session are below:
As ever my focus was on giving members a reason to go online rather than trying to teach them how to use the tools – once you have achieved the first then the second is fairly straightforward I think.
Couple of things struck me from the conversation that I wanted to note. Firstly, there is a huge amount of energy invested in the current structures and one of the main reasons for getting better community involvement is to provide the new impetus that is needed in order to start dismantling some of these structures. Secondly, if we want localism in a network society to work then we need to stop trying to bend it to find out current democratic processes and structures – we need to observe community where it emerges and then figure out how to make the decision making process democratic. This demands greater agility, responsiveness and a fundamental restructure of our democratic process. Democracy is precocious – precious enough to make it worth reforming rather than letting it become irrelevant.
Thanks to all that listened today – and an extra thanks for not thinking I was going mad with the Star Trek TNG reference – Engage!!!