Citizen power in Peterborough

There is a lot of talk about Big Society and some scepticism about what it might deliver and it being a way of passing off cuts in council services, but let’s see how Peterborough gets on, now they have made a start.

Here is what they are going to do:

“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 map of the civic leaders out there who have the enthusiasm, ability and networks needed to generate citizen powered change.”
My immediate response to this is that it is significant, it is a substantial commitment, and it will need a lot of continuing effort to deliver, so well done.
My afterthoughts are about things missing:
1. There is no jobs programme – paid or unpaid, and I ask why not?
2. There is no local currency scheme, these are being trialled in places around the world, surely Peterborough, with this kind of initiative, could push for it and make it work.
3. There is no transport initiative, what about an electric bike network? I seem to remember Peterborough as being pretty flat!
I think the lack of these comes from a mental separation between the Civic things, Health, Education  and the Arts, and the Business Profile, SME’s, Corporates, Profits and Taxes.
If Big Society is going to succeed it needs to get people thinking of integrating all these, so business is oriented to health and education, so health is oriented to business.
How we perceive things is core to how we nudge and get nudged.
Good luck Peterborough, and I hope South Coast Councillors look, listen and learn, and ACT, the sooner the better.
Like, Chichester Email for the Mayor, Tony French
And Brighton and Hove Email
And Portsmouth Email
And Southampton Email
And Exeter  Email
And the rest – so why not give them a NUDGE!

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