What is Citizen Power?
The Citizen Power programme looks at how citizen power can and should shape civic and democratic renewal. Based on theoretical argument, action research and policy analysis, the programme aims to develop ideas and practical policy solutions for cultivating civic activism and reinvigorating decision-making in the UK. The programme feeds into the RSA’s broader work on pro-social behaviour and community empowerment.
Citizen Power Peterborough
Citizen Power Peterborough is a partnership between a pioneering, active think-tank (RSA), an ambitious local authority (Peterborough City Council) and an influential national arts body (Arts Council England). The programme represents a new approach to exploring how the renewal of civic activism and community action might improve attachment and networks between people, build local participation and cultivate public service innovation.
Citizen Power Peterborough includes the following projects:
- Sustainable Citizenship: how communities can help solve environmental problems
- Recovery Capital: how the personal, social and community capital can help tackle problematic drug and alcohol use and generate the support necessary for recovery
- Peterborough Curriculum: improving educational opportunity for and the civic participation of young people by connecting what they learn in school with the place where they live
- Civic Commons: creating spaces for political and social debate, discussion and local activism
- Arts and Social Change: the role of the arts in creating a sense of belonging and imagination in a place
- ChangeMakers: unlocking the hidden wealth of community leaders
The programme - which continues to the end of 2012 - aims to un-tap the potential of Peterborough’s communities and citizens. Its aim is to ensure that public services increase social value and help communities become more resilient and self-reliant. Please Visit the Citizen Power community website for more information and illustrations of this work in practice.
Public participation in Peterborough
As part of the ongoing reflection and evaluation of the Citizen Power programme we have been working with Dr Mark Roberts of De Montfort University in an AHRC/RSA Citizen Power collaborative research project to understanding the impacts of citizen participation in Peterborough. This research is due to be completed in April 2013 and at this interim stage the following animation has been produced illustrating the top line findings.
Citizen Power in Peterborough: one year on
This report documents the progress of the Citizen Power project by thinking radically about how citizens can be encouraged to become more self-reliant, more engaged with running public services, and more active in improving their local communities.
The project has six strands of work all addressing priorities identified by the local authority and its residents:
- Work with five schools on the creation of the Peterborough Curriculum, which seeks to encourage higher levels of civic participation amongst pupils, parents and develops learning in partnership with local organisations.
- A series of projects, which are building ‘green skills’ amongst citizens while bringing waste land back into use
- The development of new civic commons where people are being trained and supported to tackle local problems like anti-social behaviour and social isolation.
- A new approach to drugs services where people who misuse drug and alcohol are being asked to co-produce services and develop a network of ‘recovery champions’.
- A programme of arts and social change which supports local artists, raises awareness of the arts, engages local citizens and provides a firm foundation for developing a sustainable arts offer for the city.
- Developing a sustainable network of ChangeMakers in Peterborough – a diverse group of individuals committed to driving positive change across the city.
Citizen Power has been working closely with the Greater Peterborough Partnership (Peterborough’s Local Strategic Partnership) to develop and implement its core Single Delivery Plan (SDP). Around 45 representatives from Peterborough’s public services, local businesses and voluntary groups will meet regularly throughout 2012 as part of the SDP Innovation Forum, a programme designed by The RSA and The Map Consortium that uses creative ideas to prompt new perspectives for participants on themselves, each other, the city and its people. Thus far, the forum has hosted guest presentations from a range of experts, including Hilary Cottam (Principal Partner, Participle) and Franco Bianchini, Professor of Cultural Policy and Planning at Leeds Metropolitan University. In between forums, participants break off into smaller Learning Groups, which provide space in which to share ideas and tackle problems collectively.