Community Engagement

Given the number of projects and initiatives contained in the Lake District National Park Partnership Plan there is a priority to ensure that we engage effectively with our communities as we  deliver that plan and its breakthrough actions.

Since February 2017 the Partnership team have been collaborating with Lorraine Smyth of ACT Cumbria to deliver workshops for partners which have explored the issue of Community Engagement. The idea was to develop a process and principle based framework within which the partnership could practically achieve the aims and objectives already agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding.  

One of the key learning points from the workshops had to do with the language that we use about how we are engaging. essentially our language needs to develop a commonality whose terms are clearly, defined, understood and accepted whilst avoiding misleading jargon and techno speak

The team felt that keeping it simple might look like this.

Inform: One way communication providing balanced and objective information to assist understanding about something that is going to happen or has happened.  

Involve: Two way communications designed to obtain public feedback about ideas on rationale, alternatives and proposals to inform decision making. The link between knowledge and implementing change is strongest when the people who are expected to implement change are involved in developing the knowledge that provides the capacity to act.

Engage: Participatory process designed to help identify issues and views to ensure that concerns and aspirations are understood and considered prior to decision making. This will mean working together to develop understanding of all issues and interests to work out alternatives and identify preferred solutions.

In addition the model below was also being reviewed as a gold standard of Community Engagement and could help the Partnership develop its own Community Engagement framework.

The Partnership Team expect that the learning and development around this subject will be ongoing and result in a formal adoption of a set of principles which will provide the basis for our internal and external engagement going forward.