These learning tours bring opportunities for sharing knowledge about the difficult changes facing the public sector in countries across the world. They build new relationships and improve the performance of everyone involved, through promoting high quality community engagement and empowerment.
On a typical tour in 2014 we hosted 15 Danish visitors, helping them learn from Manchester’s Age Friendly team, the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations, who work with VCFS organisations, and to Oldham Council to hear about its moves to becoming a Co-operative Council, one that can co-produce services with residents.
Alongside visiting the Town Hall we also visited frontline and community-based organisations to hear first hand about asset based community initiatives. Like the work of One Voice, a user led disabled people’s organisation in Lancaster. Or Oldham Big Local, a Lottery-funded community assets building initiative, that has successfully used Participatory Budgeting to mobilise over 250 residents at its last ‘decision’ day.
Social Enterprise Lancashire Network introduced the visitors to the innovative world of Social Enterprise, and we heard about how the NHS and the Police can engage effectively with citizens, including young people, from Our Life, a not-for-profit consultancy that specialises in supporting citizens in influencing services in their community.