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BASW would like to hear your views and experiences of civil participation

BASW would like to hear your views and experiences of civil participation – the involvement of people, communities, people that use services, employers with government policy and to shape services.

The Civil Society Strategy: building a future that works for everyone report (published Aug 2018) sets out how government will work with and for civil society in the long-term to create a country that works for everyone.

This is a commitment to building a strong relationship with civil society.  It sets out important steps on:

  • Empowering communities
  • Involving people and service users in services
  • Connecting in the social sector to shape policy
  • Promoting responsible businesses across the private sector
  • Ensuring collaborative commissioning with public sector

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe recently undertook a fact finding visit to the UK, to meet with key stakeholders to better understand the cooperation between non government organisations (NGOs) and decision-makers and to discuss NGO participation in the public decision-making process. A report of their findings can be found here.

At the end of October BASW CEO Ruth Allen will be presenting reflections at the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe on the report findings and recommendations which are set out at the end of the document.

The strategy and report cover a range of issues and also addresses the context in which we work, including:

  • How involved are service users, volunteers and community organisations in developing public services
  • Collaborative commissioning, to involve key individuals in a meaningful way to deliver public services
  • The voice of youth and youth participation in decision making
  • The importance of organisations using their voice to inform policy

Full recommendations are in the report.

How to get involved

We would like your views and comments to help feed in thoughts from across the sector.

  • Contact us to feed in your thoughts by 25th October 2019.

What is the Council of Europe and the INGO?

The Council of Europe (CoE) is the continent’s leading human rights organisation. It was formed in 1947, has 47 members and is distinct from the European Union (EU). The UK continues to be a member of the irrespective of our relationship with the EU. The CoE is responsible for the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. Amongst its other formal bodies is the standing conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGO, representing civil society across its member states. The International Federation of Social Workers Europe (IFSW E) is a member of this body and BASW CEO, Ruth Allen, has recently been elected to represent IFSW E at the INGO.

The Council of Europe’s work benefits extensively from contacts and co-operation with the dynamic elements of society, as represented by NGOs. One of the main challenges currently facing the Organisation is to strengthen NGOs and civil society and to develop participatory democracy on a pan-European basis.

The Council of Europe’s relations with NGOs focus on the following:

  1. Relations with international NGOs (INGOs): this can seen as the Council of Europe’s statutory relations with NGOs. INGOs holding participatory status, known collectively as the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, actively contribute to the decision-making process at the Council of Europe and to the implementation of its programmes, thus ensuring their relevance to the expectations of Europeans.
  2. Civil society programmes with partner NGOs: civil society co-operation programmes aim at strengthening the role of civil society in a pluralist democracy, in particular promoting public participation in decision making.