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.