Why is the process of governance important?
Good governance involving local people has many benefits, helping residents develop their own vision for an area, and giving them a sense of ownership of their neighbourhood's future. It will help steer a community towards the desired outcome of a successful, cohesive and sustainable future.
While it is often thought to take longer, an inclusive and accountable process provides a quicker and more certain route to achieving success. It is true that decision making takes longer because it requires more conversations and more attention to feeding back on decisions made. However, the process itself produces many benefits - quite apart from achieving the right outcomes for the community. An inclusive and accountable process will:
- help to build trust
- build social capital as people learn and develop through making their contribution
- support social enterprise and entrepreneurship
- deliver greater levels of sociability and cohesion.
Residents will be able to contribute in different ways and to take part at different levels to influence and provide community leadership. Joining their children's school's Parent Teacher Association could be appropriate for some people while becoming a school governor, volunteering with local charities, or taking part in local sports clubs will suit others better. All these activities help a community develop its character and give local people space and the opportunity to interact. Not all residents have the time or inclination to be formally involved on boards of local bodies or in the local political system.
Whatever their contribution, involving people in the process will give them a wider frame of reference and will promote their personal worth, self-confidence and ability to express themselves.
Good governance that is open and transparent will put a greater range of options on the table and will deliver greater clarity of the constraints and opportunities associated with them. It will also increase residents' sense of well-being, knowing that they are able to influence decisions that are made about their neighbourhood.