This is a good read for policymakers who are thinking about on-the-ground delivery of their policies.
(That’s everyone, right?)
Community organising has a long tradition internationally. It offers a way for communities to recognise their common interests and mobilise to achieve change. Often their target is government, and their desire is to redress disadvantage by actively campaigning for changes in policy and practice. Sometimes this is to overcome the effects of existing policy, but it is also about shaping emerging policy to ensure that affected communities become beneficiaries rather than bearing the costs. Co-production is becoming an important way of thinking about the active design and delivery of services through collaboration between users and providers. While its origins are in social care and health services, it has much wider applications. But to be effective, it requires ways of redressing the power imbalance between users and producers. Here, community organising can be an important mechanism. Together, the contributions show how community organising and co-production are powerful instruments to open up the policy process, potentially deepening democratic engagement and administrative responsiveness. As such, they offer a challenge to the way in which governing beyond the state sometimes obscures accountability, privileges private interests, or facilitates governments’ off-loading of responsibilities to civil society.