Practical Participation – 2016 update

pp-logo-2014-alpha-largeAlthough this year my primary focus is on PhD write-up, I’m still keeping active with the two companies I’ve co-founded. So, a couple of updates – firstly, the annual Practical Participation newsletter, compiled by Jennie Fleming.

Practical Participation 2016 – looking back and looking ahead

We wanted to get in contact with you with our annual update of what we are doing at Practical Participation. Tim, Bill and Jennie – are a team with complementary skills, backgrounds and interests and have extensive experience in a range of areas. If you are interested in working with any of the team, do please contact them personally to discuss how we can work together.  

Over the last year, Tim has been working on incubating and spinning out a couple of open data and engagement projects. 2015 started with Practical Participation acting as host to newly formed technical help-desk services for the Open Contracting Data Standard, and 360 Giving standard for philanthropy data. Those are now transferred over to a new workers co-operative, Open Data Services, where a growing team is supporting work to open up data for public good across the world. Tim also spent a large part of 2015 working on the International Open Data Conference (IODC) in Ottawa. His main role was facilitating an ‘action track’ – running a participatory process to bring together threads of discussion at the conference into a global roadmap for open data collaboration. The result is available online here. He’s continued to support the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition  (GODAN) network, working with the team on inputs to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit in Mexico last October, and on a range of other research projects. 

Also at the OGP Summit, Tim co-hosted a workshop on the development resources to support the implementation of the recently launched International Open Data Charter. Over 2016 he’ll be working with the Open Data Charter network to support the creation of ‘Sector Packages’, showing key ways open data can make a difference in anti-corruption, amongst other places. You can contact Tim at tim@practicalparticipation.co.uk.

Jennie’s been continuing her evaluation work with the Children’s Society Young Carers in Focus project and Enthusiasm youth projects. She also undertook a review of the work of the Youth Team at Trafford Housing Trust. The review considered the activity and impact of the youth team to learn from the previous years’ work and to inform proposals for the future. With Practical Participation associate Sarah Hargreaves and young advisor Ruth Taylor she undertook research for Heritage Lottery Fund about youth involvement in decision making about a new grant programme they are establishing. The report reviewed current good practice in the area and set out models for how young people could be meaningfully involved in the decision making processes for the grants.

Jennie is also providing non-line managerial support to the Youth and Community team at Valley House and the youth worker at The Nottingham Refugee Forum. With CRAE’s merger with Just for Kids Law she is now a Trustee of Just for Kids Law and the Chair of the Policy and Strategic Litigation sub-committee. If you think Jennie’s skills and expertise could be useful to you – do get in contact with her jennie@practicalparticipation.co.uk

Bill’s main focus is supporting four local communities as part of the resident-led Lottery funded Big Local programme of £1m over ten years in 150 neighbourhoods in England. Each area has built a dynamic community conversation as the foundation for their plans. Each is seeing great outcomes for residents across a range of priorities they themselves have set. It’s an exciting and replicable model of community empowerment and control

Work relating to Children and Young People Improving Access to Psychological Services has taken Bill back to Rotherham, with a focused piece of work scoping children and young people’s voice and influence in mental health services and offering a practical model to help map and plan improvement. 

Bill remains involved with a number of youth services and especially with youth work within the Housing sector, facilitated by Joe Rich of Affinity Sutton. Youth services continue their freefall with occasional glimmers of hope as in Brighton where the worst of cuts were averted in part we hope through our support to young people’s voices being heard.

Work with young carers has continued through partnership with The Children’s Society and Carers Trust in the Making a Step Change programme. Working across a number of local authorities is a reminder of the power of the voice of experience, coupled with vital leadership and management.

And finally, Bill continues as a practice educator with three social work students this last year, helping retain the vital focus on quality of direct inter-personal practice.

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