Paul Slatter, Director of Chamberlain Forum

Paul Slatter is the director of Chamberlain forum and has been involved  in a number of ways to  bring the parties together. Facilitating sessions and using a technique called structured dialogue method, which as the name suggests is a structured way of approaching a dialogue between 2 sides of an issue. For more information on Structured Dialogue see here and for a full report – as a word document – click here.


Some key points Paul makes are:

  • Authorities should change the  language they use when referring to their partners in community/3rd sector organisations. They are not “clients” and describing them as such doesn’t help build strong relationships.
  • Techniques like structured dialogue take some time, usually about a morning but are useful and help to bring the truth of matters as it happens to a process, rather than afterwards. It’s essential that the different sides talk during a process.
  • The solicitors involved agreed that the facilitation helped move things on more quickly.

Advice for authorities:

Communication is almost more important than the technical side of the asset transfer if you want to produce a result which has a valuable connection between community and local goverment.

Advice for third sector:

The same advice to keep communication flowing as for authority officers, but with the added nuance being that they need to assert themselves throughout the process.

Join the Conversation


  1. Good points but I would also say that the authority’s consistency is also a big issue. If a transfer requires a few meetings to sort it out, it does not help if the goalposts keep moving between meetings without explanation. There needs to be a commitment to clear consistent communication.

    1. Indeed. Some authorities seem to be finding their feet on how they approach asset transfer – others have really yet to get going whilst many are still experiment or seeking some consistent approaches. It is of course not simply a question of what the officers have learnt and apply – it is also clearly shaped by politicians, overall and in wards.

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