A powerful man has big ears

27 Mar

It’s been a little while since the last blog post: apparently freelancing can prove to be quite busy…Amongst helping out on things like this, I have however been doing some writing, it just hasn’t been here…so do check out a couple of posts over on the School for Social Entrepreneurs blog (People not Pizza (reflections on social franchising); and Collaboration, partnership and network mindset) if you’re interested.

But the reason for the post title (an old Japanese proverb that is a useful reminder of the importance of listening) and the red button is that I’ve also been writing about power. An interest that has been rekindled by hearing reference to it in many government (and opposition) pronouncements, and by the new People Powered Change programme from the Big Lottery Fund. What, I’ve been wondering, do people mean by power and empowerment in this context? So I wrote an article for ResPublica which, aside from putting a photo of Eric Pickles next to the byline on their homepage (no, I haven’t let myself go that much), I was happy to share with their networks. Here’s an excerpt:

The risk with the timing of the government’s current work is that the opportunities to achieve empowerment in one sense (the giving – or taking – of power) are being created at the same time as the opportunities to achieve it in the other sense (the equipping with an ability) are in many instances being removed. Constraints on central and local government budgets mean that infrastructure and support agencies, largely regardless of their track record, are fast disappearing. It remains to be seen whether one-off initiatives like the government’s Community Organisers programme, or sector-led ones like People Powered Change can adequately fill the gap. Or whether the available powers can ultimately only be taken-up and used by bigger organisations with the resources and capacity to do so.”

You can read the whole piece here: Power down: why true empowerment is double-sided

Hopefully, some of those in power are listening…..

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