Monday, 19 October 2009

Having a structure for civic involvement matters The Civic Trust was precisely the kind of organisation of which it might have been said, if it didn't exist they'd have to reinvent it. And so they have. The Trust closed in April this year leaving local civic societies in a haze of uncertainty. The Civic Society Initiative has just published the report on their consultation which I mentioned in the summer. Among the main findings: Civic societies want to be less reactive, work more in partnership and be more campaigning in their outlook. There is a refreshing openness within civic societies about their shortcomings and their mixed reputation – ageing, negative and out of touch but also locally knowledgeable, actively concerned about the future and wanting to connect more with their community. The movement lacks confidence in itself and others can appear to value it more than civic societies themselves. Civic societies seek a unifying mission and purpose for the movement. This is likely to be based around issues of place, pride, identity and community. The analysis reveals a wish to move from being: Separate voices to being a collective movement Hierarchical to being more networked Dependent to being more independent (especially financially) Organised top-down to being more federal. Three main roles have been identified for the national body: Providing information, support and advice to civic societies Facilitating civic societies to network and cluster together Being a national lead and voice for the movement which provides inspiration and direction; lobbies and campaigns on its behalf; and raises its profile and influence. The organisation is now seeking feedback on the report by Friday 20 November.

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