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Power in Big Local Partnerships

Lyon, Dawn and Tunåker, Carin and Pratt-Boyden, Keira and Theodossopoulos, Dimitrios (2021) Power in Big Local Partnerships. Project report. Local Trust, London, UK (KAR id:91540)

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Abstract

This report is about the practice of decision-making in a resident-led, place-based programme. It explores the operation of power within decision-making: how decisions are made, by and with whom and in what contexts. It considers how particular ideas gather appeal, how some voices are heard more than others, and how beliefs in ‘the right way’ to make decisions matter, and can have unintended consequences of limiting agendas and imagination. It identifies ways to strengthen decision-making in a community-led programme, by developing new forms of participation and sharing power among all sections of the community. The research is based on Big Local. Big Local is a resident-led funding programme providing groups of people in 150 areas in England with £1.15m each to spend across 10–15 years in order to create lasting change in their neighbourhoods. A key goal of the Big Local programme is for communities to build confidence and capacity for the longer term (Local Trust, 2019). In Big Local areas, resident-led partnerships play a key role in decision-making and guide the overall direction of Big Local in their area. The research was conducted by the Centre for Ethnographic Research at the University of Kent, through interviews and online observation (virtual ethnography). Our findings are presented in five main areas: culture, power and processes; partnership rules and agendas; membership, recruitment and diversity; voice, power and inequality; and spaces of communication and decision-making. Our research revealed how power resides in different phases of the processes involved in decision-making as well as in the final outcome. We also found that although most Big Local partnerships aim to include all members of the community, barriers remain based on protected characteristics such as race and gender that affect individuals’ participation in Big Local partnerships. The research was carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the move to online decision-making has disrupted partnerships’ internal working cultures and created new opportunities for inclusivity. We conclude that power operates in different ways across decision-making processes and that this is influenced by the space decisions take place in, whose voice is heard and why, and how rules are made and interpreted.

Item Type: Monograph (Project report)
Uncontrolled keywords: Big Local, communities, decision-making processes, diversity, inequalities, rules, agendas, power, space
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Dawn Lyon
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2021 09:12 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 04:15 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/91540 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Lyon, Dawn: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8534-2194
Tunåker, Carin: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0885-648X
Theodossopoulos, Dimitrios: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8453-3450
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