Measuring the impact of community engagement on policy making in the UK: a local case study

PURDAM, Kingsley and CRISP, Richard (2009). Measuring the impact of community engagement on policy making in the UK: a local case study. Journal of Civil Society, 5 (2), 169-186.

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Innovative attempts to involve citizens in policy making have been one of the defining features of the New Labour government in the UK. In this article, we examine the nature and impact of community engagement mechanisms within the flagship regeneration programme—the New Deal for Communities. Through interviews with practitioners, analysis of survey data and participant observation of governance boards we examine the methods and impact of initiatives to engage residents in policy making. While it is apparent that innovative strategies have been put in place to engage and empower communities in local policy making, this has not always been matched by the development of tools for measuring the impact of involvement or for scrutinizing the policy development and decision-making process. More people may have got involved, but little is known about precisely what effect their involvement has had upon policies at the local level. Consultation, or just publicizing what is happening and community involvement in decision-making are often conflated, and there is only a limited attempt to delineate and quantify the impact of each. It is also evident that information gathered as a result of some community engagement initiatives is not easily linked to policy development and is not always utilized in the policy process. For community involvement to become a meaningful and sustainable aspect of local policy making, an appropriate infrastructure needs to be developed to ensure that the decision-making process is transparent and accountable, and that the input from citizens genuinely informs decision-making.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Identification Number:
Page Range: 169-186
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:04
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 10:00

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