Participative Democracy

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#1
They way I see it, there are two sides to Civic Leadership.  There is what goes on in the community outside the walls of the City Council, and there is what goes on inside City Council.  Participative Democracy focuses on citizen involvement within the structures of the City Council. 

Do ordinary citizens want Participative Democracy?  Who has the time to be part of the decision making processes that go on within the walls of Marischal College?  Can we not leave it all in the hands of council officers and our elected representatives?
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#1
They way I see it, there are two sides to Civic Leadership.  There is what goes on in the community outside the walls of the City Council, and there is what goes on inside City Council.  Participative Democracy focuses on citizen involvement within the structures of the City Council. 

Do ordinary citizens want Participative Democracy?  Who has the time to be part of the decision making processes that go on within the walls of Marischal College?  Can we not leave it all in the hands of council officers and our elected representatives?
Reply
#2
(27-01-2020, 20:54)Tony Miller Wrote: They way I see it, there are two sides to Civic Leadership.  There is what goes on in the community outside the walls of the City Council, and there is what goes on inside City Council.  Participative Democracy focuses on citizen involvement within the structures of the City Council. 

Do ordinary citizens want Participative Democracy?  Who has the time to be part of the decision making processes that go on within the walls of Marischal College?  Can we not leave it all in the hands of council officers and our elected representatives?
Good question, Tony.  I'm sure there can't be many people whose pulse quickens at the prospect of more "Participative Democracy" in general.  But I imagine there may be quite a few who care enough about some aspect of community life to want to see it improved.  If there was a more obvious link between "Participative Democracy" and my quality of life, I might have a go.
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#2
(27-01-2020, 20:54)Tony Miller Wrote: They way I see it, there are two sides to Civic Leadership.  There is what goes on in the community outside the walls of the City Council, and there is what goes on inside City Council.  Participative Democracy focuses on citizen involvement within the structures of the City Council. 

Do ordinary citizens want Participative Democracy?  Who has the time to be part of the decision making processes that go on within the walls of Marischal College?  Can we not leave it all in the hands of council officers and our elected representatives?
Good question, Tony.  I'm sure there can't be many people whose pulse quickens at the prospect of more "Participative Democracy" in general.  But I imagine there may be quite a few who care enough about some aspect of community life to want to see it improved.  If there was a more obvious link between "Participative Democracy" and my quality of life, I might have a go.
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#3
After our first event our report include a set of values we'd adapted from Frome Council in Somerset, all of whose councillors were independent and not aligned with political parties. https://iffrome.org.uk/ways-of-working/.  

These were actually adopted by Aberdeen City Council.  They may to have grasped fully the implications but I think this was a significant achievement and one to keep visible here.  

Do you have the text that was adopted, Tony?  (to replace the following.)   

The Independents for Frome Ways of Working
[i]“The noble art of losing face will one day save the human race”.[/i]

These Values and Guidelines have been drafted by the group of 17 independent individuals elected to Frome Town Council in May 2015. They are based on the original Ways of Working adopted in 2011.
[b]Five Core Values[/b]
[b]Independence. [/b]We will each make up our own mind about each decision without reference to a shared dogma or ideology.
[b]Integrity. [/b]Decisions will be made in an open and understandable manner. Information will be made available even when we make mistakes and everyone will have the opportunity to influence decisions.
[b]Positivity. [/b]We will look for solutions, involving others in the discussions, not just describe problems.
[b]Creativity.[/b] Use new, or borrowed, ideas from within the group and the wider community to refresh what we do and how we do it.
[b]Respect.[/b] Understand that everyone has an equal voice and is worth listening to.
We will adhere to these values by challenging ourselves and each other to:
  • Avoid identifying ourselves so personally with a particular position that this in itself excludes constructive debate.

  • Being prepared to be swayed by the arguments of others and admitting mistakes.

  • Be willing and able to participate in rational debate leading to a conclusion.

  • Understand the value of constructive debate.

  • Accept that you win some, you lose some; it’s usually nothing personal and there’s really no point in taking defeats to heart.

  • Maintain confidentially where requested and agree when it will be expected.

  • Share leadership and responsibility and take time to communicate the intention of, and the approach to, the work we undertake.

  • Have confidence in, and adhere to, the mechanisms and processes of decision-making that we establish, accepting that the decisions of the majority are paramount.

  • Sustain an intention to involve each other and others rather than working in isolation.

  • Trust and have confidence and optimism in other people’s expertise, knowledge and intentions. Talk to each other not about each other.
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#3
After our first event our report include a set of values we'd adapted from Frome Council in Somerset, all of whose councillors were independent and not aligned with political parties. https://iffrome.org.uk/ways-of-working/.  

These were actually adopted by Aberdeen City Council.  They may to have grasped fully the implications but I think this was a significant achievement and one to keep visible here.  

Do you have the text that was adopted, Tony?  (to replace the following.)   

The Independents for Frome Ways of Working
[i]“The noble art of losing face will one day save the human race”.[/i]

These Values and Guidelines have been drafted by the group of 17 independent individuals elected to Frome Town Council in May 2015. They are based on the original Ways of Working adopted in 2011.
[b]Five Core Values[/b]
[b]Independence. [/b]We will each make up our own mind about each decision without reference to a shared dogma or ideology.
[b]Integrity. [/b]Decisions will be made in an open and understandable manner. Information will be made available even when we make mistakes and everyone will have the opportunity to influence decisions.
[b]Positivity. [/b]We will look for solutions, involving others in the discussions, not just describe problems.
[b]Creativity.[/b] Use new, or borrowed, ideas from within the group and the wider community to refresh what we do and how we do it.
[b]Respect.[/b] Understand that everyone has an equal voice and is worth listening to.
We will adhere to these values by challenging ourselves and each other to:
  • Avoid identifying ourselves so personally with a particular position that this in itself excludes constructive debate.

  • Being prepared to be swayed by the arguments of others and admitting mistakes.

  • Be willing and able to participate in rational debate leading to a conclusion.

  • Understand the value of constructive debate.

  • Accept that you win some, you lose some; it’s usually nothing personal and there’s really no point in taking defeats to heart.

  • Maintain confidentially where requested and agree when it will be expected.

  • Share leadership and responsibility and take time to communicate the intention of, and the approach to, the work we undertake.

  • Have confidence in, and adhere to, the mechanisms and processes of decision-making that we establish, accepting that the decisions of the majority are paramount.

  • Sustain an intention to involve each other and others rather than working in isolation.

  • Trust and have confidence and optimism in other people’s expertise, knowledge and intentions. Talk to each other not about each other.
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#4
Interesting...

A quick google got me to this page, where council meetings and the decisions made are documented:
https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/i...tteeId=122

It even includes a link to webcasts of the past few meetings:
https://aberdeen.public-i.tv/core/portal/home
This page actively invites feedback on the meetings already held, along with a link to subscribe to notifications on upcoming meetings, or you can follow a twitter feed.
Reply
#4
Interesting...

A quick google got me to this page, where council meetings and the decisions made are documented:
https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/i...tteeId=122

It even includes a link to webcasts of the past few meetings:
https://aberdeen.public-i.tv/core/portal/home
This page actively invites feedback on the meetings already held, along with a link to subscribe to notifications on upcoming meetings, or you can follow a twitter feed.
Reply
#5
Thank you, Dan

I have found the Aberdeen Citizens' Engagement Principles that formed part of the report presented to the full meeting of the Council on 5 March 2018. 

They can be found in Appendix L of this 870 page document (pp 445-446).  Also some nice comments about the 27/1/18 event in section 4.9 Civic Leadership, (pp 157-159) 

Here's Martin Murchie's email confirming the news after Council sat.
"Well folks, that’s Council agreed the Values & Principles today.  They got read out in full.  Admittedly as a bit of a challenge, but I take that as a positive sign.  Well done all."

Values and Principles 
Values 
  • Independence: We will each make up our own mind. 
  • Integrity: Decisions will be made in an open and understandable manner. Information and communication will be open and transparent, and everyone will have the opportunity to influence decisions. 
  • Positivity: We will look for solutions not just describe problems. 
  • Respect: Understand that everyone has an equal voice and is worth listening to. 

Principles 
We will adhere to these values by challenging ourselves, and each other, to: 

  1. Focus on making the right decision for the people of Aberdeen. Avoid identifying ourselves so personally with a particular position that this in itself excludes constructive discussion. 
  2. Be prepared to be swayed by the arguments of others and be confident about admitting mistakes or changing our mind; 
  3. Sustain an intention to involve all relevant stakeholders sharing with them any relevant facts/documents on which decisions and subsequent actions are based. 
  4. Understand the value of constructive dialogue, listening appreciatively to the thoughts and conclusions of others. 
  5. Share leadership and responsibility, and take time to communicate the intention of the work we undertake as citizens, and the approach we use to make decisions and initiate actions. 
  6. Trust and have confidence and optimism in other people’s expertise, knowledge and intentions
Reply
#5
Thank you, Dan

I have found the Aberdeen Citizens' Engagement Principles that formed part of the report presented to the full meeting of the Council on 5 March 2018. 

They can be found in Appendix L of this 870 page document (pp 445-446).  Also some nice comments about the 27/1/18 event in section 4.9 Civic Leadership, (pp 157-159) 

Here's Martin Murchie's email confirming the news after Council sat.
"Well folks, that’s Council agreed the Values & Principles today.  They got read out in full.  Admittedly as a bit of a challenge, but I take that as a positive sign.  Well done all."

Values and Principles 
Values 
  • Independence: We will each make up our own mind. 
  • Integrity: Decisions will be made in an open and understandable manner. Information and communication will be open and transparent, and everyone will have the opportunity to influence decisions. 
  • Positivity: We will look for solutions not just describe problems. 
  • Respect: Understand that everyone has an equal voice and is worth listening to. 

Principles 
We will adhere to these values by challenging ourselves, and each other, to: 

  1. Focus on making the right decision for the people of Aberdeen. Avoid identifying ourselves so personally with a particular position that this in itself excludes constructive discussion. 
  2. Be prepared to be swayed by the arguments of others and be confident about admitting mistakes or changing our mind; 
  3. Sustain an intention to involve all relevant stakeholders sharing with them any relevant facts/documents on which decisions and subsequent actions are based. 
  4. Understand the value of constructive dialogue, listening appreciatively to the thoughts and conclusions of others. 
  5. Share leadership and responsibility, and take time to communicate the intention of the work we undertake as citizens, and the approach we use to make decisions and initiate actions. 
  6. Trust and have confidence and optimism in other people’s expertise, knowledge and intentions
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#6
I really like these values and principles. 
Step 1 was a big step to have had them read out and agreed.
Step 2 is much harder. How are Councillors and officials supported as they move to implement these values and principles? If we use a planning application for a development as a case study, we can see that these were not the bedrock of decision-making before 2018. So, how are staff going to change without training and development, and management buy-in? 
Could we do some joint workshops?
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#6
I really like these values and principles. 
Step 1 was a big step to have had them read out and agreed.
Step 2 is much harder. How are Councillors and officials supported as they move to implement these values and principles? If we use a planning application for a development as a case study, we can see that these were not the bedrock of decision-making before 2018. So, how are staff going to change without training and development, and management buy-in? 
Could we do some joint workshops?
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