Regeneration And Community Engagement In Action: The ‘Rules’

‘Regeneration’ happens when someone with influence perceives a need for improvement. But this is a process in which professionals omit to involve those to whom regeneration is being done at their peril. What follows is therefore a set of observations or ‘rules’, derived from direct experience, about how regeneration and community engagement may play out on the ground.

The ‘Rules’ below are presented from the perspective of a professional approaching a regeneration scenario. The reader might like to turn them around and ‘translate’ them, to reflect the possible understandings of a person ‘in the community’ on whose (claimed) behalf regeneration is taking place.
1) It is very difficult to ensure that everyone ‘knows’ what they need / would like to know.
2) People at all levels get suspicious / unhelpful if they feel ‘left out of the loop’.
3) Identifying legitimate Stakeholders is always a challenge – not all of them are formal.
4) Professional practitioners are not the font of all knowledge.
5) Perspectives and language (discourse / terms) may vary
dramatically between parties.
6) Expectations may similarly vary, and can be challenging to manage.
7) It is essential to start any programme by identifying ‘what works’ and protecting that.
8) Who is ‘qualified’ to undertake such ‘what works’ identification can be problematic.
9) Participants’ understandings develop over time; what they’d initially asked for will change.
10) The same may also apply to the professionals involved – especially if they are sensitive to context.
11) Sustainability – social, economic, physical – is often
overlooked in practice, if not in theory.
12) There is rarely a clear end-point (when does ‘regeneration’ finish?)
13) Engagement is by definition voluntary; it can never be forced, but is very necessary.
14) Equipping people to engage often requires patience, skill and thoughtful leadership.
15) Many stakeholders only really become interested when the chequebook arrives; be ready and beware!
These observations formed part of a lecture delivered (by Hilary Burrage) on 23 April 2007 to Masters’ students of social policy and political science at Charles University, Prague, in the Czech

What do you think?
Do these ‘rules’ reflect your experience? And are there other ‘rules’ to add to these?

Posted on May 4, 2007, in Equality, Diversity And Inclusion, Politics, Policies And Process, Regeneration, Renewal And Resilience, Sustainability As If People Mattered, The Journal. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thank you – this is very useful information as I am currently writing an essay on the opportunities and challenges facing PR professionals working in regeneration. Hope you don’t mind if I quote you.

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