This report documents the results of road-testing two frameworks for assessing community participation: Active partners: Benchmarking community involvement in regeneration (Yorkshire Forward, 2000) and Auditing community participation: An assessment handbook (The Policy Press, 2000).
The report examines whether the tools were useful, what worked most effectively and how the tools might be amalgamated on the basis of what was learned from the road-testing. The practical difficulties involved in using the tools were also explored. The lessons learned have enabled the production of a new companion handbook for development and assessment, Making community participation meaningful, which combines and develops the original frameworks.
Danny Burns is Professor of Social and Organisational Learning and Co-director of SOLAR (Social and Organisational Learning as Action Research) at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Frances Heywood is Research Fellow at the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol. Pete Wilde is a Director of the COGS Consultancy (Communities and Organisations: Growth and Support). Mandy Wilson is also a Director of COGS.
Background and context: Background to the road testing; Why the benchmarks and audit tools were developed; The two assessment frameworks in a nutshell; What we did in the three pilot areas; The content of the audit tools and the benchmarks: What can the tools be used for?; What did the tools achieve during the pilot phase?; What parts of the tools should be used when?; Assessment exercises, techniques and processes; Issues of language and presentation; Further issues raised by the work with black and minority ethnic groups; What needed to be added to the frameworks?; Integrating the two tools; Application of the two tools: Access; Time and timing; The need for facilitation and expertise; Issues raised by the action research process; The skills that are needed to do this work; Recording; Voluntary or compulsory assessment?; Mainstreaming audit and development processes; Conclusions.