Participation and representation: Strengthening the third sector voice in local governance

The Gathering 2018

Year of publication
Jane Cullingworth, University of Glasgow and Oliver Escobar, University of Edinburgh

What Works Scotland has been working with the third sector to develop a vision to re-imagine community planning in Scotland.

At the end of 2014 representatives from third sector interfaces (TSIs) in Scotland worked together in a two-day deliberative forum facilitated by What Works Scotland, resulting in the report Reimagining Community Planning in Scotland: A Vision from the Third Sector.

A central issue discussed was the challenge TSIs face in “representing: the third sector in a range of partnerships and community forums. The other key issue was how to make TSIs more democratic by enabling better participation by third sector organisations in discussing issues, agreeing collective positions and taking action.

This report describes the process by which STRiVE, the TSI for East Lothian, with support from What Works Scotland, opened a conversation with local third sector organisations to discuss effective participation and representation in East Lothian, starting with these questions:

  • How should the third sector be represented, by who and where?
  • When does the sector need representation and how is this decided?
  • How do we ensure all third sector organisations are able to participate in conversation?
  • What mechanisms should underpin this representation?
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