Posts Tagged ‘partnership into power’

Policy-making can’t just be a partnership with ourselves

18/11/2010, 07:00:30 AM

by Peter Watt

“Partnership in power” was established in 1997 as a way of maintaining a dialogue between the three main stakeholder groups which would determine the success or otherwise of a Labour government. The theory was devised in opposition. If the government, party members and, of course, the public could keep talking, then when inevitable tensions occurred they could be handled so that they didn’t become crises. Keeping all three groups involved in the process was seen as essential to its success. If any one of the three groups walked away, then the government would struggle. In essence, it was simple: the government had the right to govern, but also a responsibility to listen to the party and the public. The party had the right to be heard by the government and the responsibility to…. you get the idea.

In the heady post-election days of 1997, anything seemed possible. You couldn’t help but get caught up in the overwhelming sense of optimism. The early local policy forum pilots were large events with multiple facilitators and enthusiastic members. There was a requirement for a minister at every one and head office even paid for some of it. Complex “how to” guides were devised and the public and third parties (no, not the Lib Dems) were invited to take part. And then local parties began spontaneously holding their own smaller events – ”partnership in power” seemed infectious and all seemed to be going well. It might not have been perfect, but our hearts were in the right place. New ideas seemed to be emerging from forums around the country.  Government ministers were queuing up to pepper their speeches with examples of new policies that they had adopted from local policy forums. (more…)

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