Civil Society Forum: update May 2011

Extract for supporters of the Civil Society Forum.

Thank you for expressing an interest in the Civil Society Forum, the??
Launch Event??of which was held on Wednesday 20th April in London. Over 35 people attended, representing the charity, public and corporate sectors, and entered enthusiastically into a lively debate about the future of the civil society. ??

The purpose of the Forum is:??

To stimulate strategic thinking and subsequent action;
To address the challenges of, and be a catalyst for, cross-boundary and cross-sector collaboration for the benefit of the civil society.??

Amongst those who attended, and those who expressed an interest in the Forum, there is a rich and deep range of experience from across all sectors. The key aim is to provide an open and supportive space, to enable the sharing of knowledge, experience and networks, build relationships and identify practical ways in which the challenges in our society can be addressed by a closer, stronger and more collaborative way of working.??The??notes??from discussion can be found on the website:

I would draw your attention to the document entitled,??’Defining the Territory’,??which more fully articulates the vision for the Forum, what it aims to achieve and most importantly – the positive difference it aims to make to the way we all work, i.e. delivering sustainable results with fewer resources, by working within and across organizational boundaries, and developing a co-ordinated approach to shaping the future of the civil society.??

Building on the launch discussions, we have worked to articulate principles that reflect the vision, values and priorities held and expressed during the day, and to flesh out more of what this will look like in practice. As a result we have developed a process by which people can engage openly in joint strategic thinking??(see details).??This includes a programme of learning and strategic thinking events but allows more flexible design of activity to meet needs and to provide a ‘hot house’ for individual and joint action. The process also generates a multiplier effect on the efforts invested.??

The Forum will be taken forward in a number of different ways, including by establishing working groups, who will explore different key topics identified and run by members. These will have flexibility in the nature of activity but with a commitment to the principles of The Forum to enable maximum collective benefit.

The following themes are the initial work streams to be discussed, so do please take a look through these to see what might be of relevance and interest to yourself or your organization and if there are any others you would like to propose.??

Working Groups.??Initial work streams:

Theme 1:??

. Focus question:??How do we get better at working collaboratively? How do we transcend our pre-conditioning of working in silos, of behaviours, structures etc.. Initial area of focus: Sharing of experience and insight on collaboration and collaborative strategies, skills, models, case studies. Plans/timescales: Regular contribution at Core Events starting in June (overlap with theme 2),??20th??July??& Sept see below.

Theme 2:??

. Focus question:??What are effective ways of working with dispersed groups of people / communities of interest and stimulating & supporting people to do things differently?. Initial area of focus: Using collaborative networks and support groups to stimulate and support change. ??Plans/timescales:??Working with Suffolk County Council Business Development as a case study. Initial event??21st??June.??

Theme 3:

. Focus question:??Why does commissioning spoil good work and how can it be done differently?. ??Plans/timescales:??An open meeting??7th July??to explore the territory. The proposal is work toward developing an approach to government and local government to put forward the Working Group’s views.??
??Theme 4:

. ??Focus question:??What is ‘Impact Investment’ (e.g. Social Impact Bonds), how to ??structure & package social impact generation and how can we engage?. Plans/timescales:??An initial meeting in July to bring together potential investors and brokers with viable organizations and programmes.??
The Forum also aims to provide that ‘open space for discussion’ in a number of different ways, to meet a range needs and the following are being considered.

.??????Rolling programme of Core Events, 4-6 weekly in London.??????North of England launch.??????Activity elsewhere?.??????Other Themes and Working Groups?

Next Events

21st??June:??Stimulating and supporting transformation. Central London 1.30-5.30pmThis workshop will look at effective ways of working with dispersed groups of people / communities of interest to stimulate & support them??to do things differently?

With learning opportunities from the Finance Lab and using Suffolk County Council as a case study??to look at how collaborative networks and support groups??can stimulate and support??genuine transformation.??

7th??July: Commissioning, details to be confirmed23 July: Collaboration. Central London 1.30 – 5.30pm

Including lots of space for dialogue plus seminar:??The Art of Collaboration, Professor John Carlisle

Please let us know if you are interested in being involved in the themes or other areas of work. Details of next events will be confirmed shortly with booking made via the website. With the themes /working groups let us know if it is something you want to develop your own knowledge in and/or could contribute thinking. The door is open to make your presence felt.

Best wishes??

Esther Ridsdale

On behalf of the Civil Society Forum Steering Group:

Lucian J. Hudson ???????????????? Chairman, Collaborative Strategies Network.
Previously Director of Communication, FCO.

Professor John Carlisle??????A??leading authority on collaboration and organisational transformation, whose work has been cited and endorsed by HBR.??

Previously trainer on Top Government Development Programme

Mark Napier ????????????????????????????????????????Managing Director, Centre for Public Innovation

James Plunket ???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??Managing Director, Social Investment Group

???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??Member of the Philanthropy Advice Steering Group

Aidan Ward ???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??????????Systems practitioner, Fractal, representing ScIO, systems practitioners group

Karen Woolley???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ????Social activist, Chair of Oxfordshire Rural Council, Director Klic4Training (Corporate Social Responsibility, etc)

Esther Ridsdale ???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??Specialist in collaborative strategy, planning & improvement specialist. Recently Collaborative Working Officer at the NCVO.

The Civil Society Forum

07802 430246

Sent from my BlackBerry?? wireless device

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