Policy influence

National Standards for Community Engagement

Scottish Community Development Centre. (n.d.). National Standards for Community EngagementCommunities Scotland. 

The Scottish Community Development Centre developed this set of national standards as a means of assuring good public process between communities and agencies. The standards are seen as a fundamental part of community planning while acknowledging the importance of increasing inclusion of minorities and disadvantaged populations. The standards were originally developed in 2005 and have been in wide use in Scotland. The standards address how organizations with a public-interest focus can improve: involvement of stakeholders, overcoming barriers in participation, project planning, methods assessment, team collaboration, information sharing practices, implementing feedback mechanisms, and more. There is a focus on measuring indicators and community-led action research though implementation guidelines are lacking.

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Beyond Consensus: Improving Collaborative Planning and Management

Margerum, R. D., & others. (2011). Beyond Consensus: Improving Collaborative Planning and Management, MIT Press: Cambridge Mass.

This book highlights severali mportant parts of conducting a consensus meeting which is getting the right people into the group, how the participants are collaborating, and effective product generated from consensus.These chapters go in to great detail on each of these topics and cite numerous case studies as evidence of what to do, and what not to do.  This book is useful because it shows real world examples of many of the problems that can arise from convening a consensus meeting.  It illustrates that the consensus meeting starts long before the group sits down to collaborate and its results may effect projects for years after.  The case studies are from a range of governmental management and the focus of this book is how to have consensus meeting have a tangible effect on management and policy.

The Elusive Craft of Evaluating Advocacy

Steven Teles & Mark Schmitt, The Elusive Craft of Evaluating Advocacy, STANFORD SOCIAL INNOVATION REV. (2011)

This paper focuses on advocacy as a method of shaping public policy or for social good. It talks about tools that can be used to evaluate these and other advocacy efforts. The paper argues that advocacy evaluation should be seen as a form of trained judgement rather than a method. This judgement involves a clear understanding of the politics of the issue in question, strong networks with key players and an ability to assess organizational quality. To carry out such an advocacy evaluation it is important to understand the context in which the advocates and service providers work in the real world. The author does this giving cases of past reform efforts such as the health care reform among others. It further points out that services and advocacy are different and would therefore require different methods of evaluation. The factors that make advocacy efforts effective as well those that are limiting are also addressed. Though organizations often devise methods of advocacy that can be replicated, the author argues that not all them can be applied to every other organization successfully. This is why it is important to consider the context. To conclude the author suggests that when doing advocacy evaluation the ‘proper unit of analysis is the long-term adaptability, strategic capacity and ultimately influence of organizations themselves.’

Youth activism and community change: New democratic possibilities for practice and policy for America’s youth

Ginwright, S. A., Noguera, P., & Cammarota, J. (Eds.). (2006). Beyond resistance!: Youth activism and community change: New democratic possibilities for practice and policy for America’s youth. Routledge.

This book is a collection of work by different researchers that was inspired by a question on how educational researchers can make actual contribution to policy on the subjects that they work on. It focuses on youth activism as a means of social change. The book’s main argument is that youth activism plays a central role in shaping democratic processes that lead to social change such as the fight to end apartheid in South Africa. The work by the authors here is based on what happens when the youth are not given a chance to take part in social movements. Under restriction and prohibition, how do young people try to push and agitate for social change, what alternative means do they use? This book is also concerned with the mechanisms that restrict active participation of the youth in social movements especially youth of colour. It offers a comprehensive discussion of how young people respond to major patterns of institutional failure in their schools and communities.