Christmas is often a time to review the preceding year. For us this is a particularly important point to review things. Ten years ago The Campaign Company (TCC) was established by its co-founders Jonathan Upton and David Evans with the initial aim to ‘make democracy work’. This followed a General Election where electoral turnout had just dropped substantially from 71.3% to 59.4 and there were increasing concerns about the rise of a ‘democratic deficit‘. As a result of that initial focus TCC subsequently delivered programmes in a number of fields:
- Community Engagement. We have delivered engagement activity with Local Government, Health, Police and Voluntary Sector from Newham through to Middlesbrough, working in particular with hard to reach and engage communities;
- New forms of participation. We devised the Young Mayor programme as well as utilising tools such as participatory budgeting to bring decisions closer to communities;
- Organisational and Membership Development. By 2008/09 we had helped recruit one in six NHS Foundation Trust (FT) members as well as working with FT Governors to develop their skills. We continue to deliver in this field as existing Trusts expand their membership and new Trusts are approved. In addition we have also worked with a range of voluntary sector bodies and trade unions in modernising how they engage with their members and supporters in order to make them more representative and relevant to the people they serve.
In the intervening ten years TCC has also addressed new public policy challenges that arose and developed its understanding of behavioural sciences and set its sights on ‘inspiring change':
- Community Cohesion in a changing world as migration has become a bigger issue for many local communities who had no previous experience of it. This led to declining perceptions of Trust and increasing perceptions of unfairness, which traditional local government communications actually exacerbated. As a result we brought together a whole menu of alternative approaches including values based segmentation, lay community communicators and effective customer conversations with staff. We recently blogged in more detail on the future challenges in this field.
- Public Health challenges around diet, smoking and sexual health and the rise in importance of social marketing. We have worked with a range of different health commissioners to deliver insight as well as local interventions.
- Community Resilience. Working in collaboration with the RSA and their Connected Communities project and combining it with values segmentation, we have become the leading organisation in mapping local social networks to give a greater understanding of the resilience of communities to withstand the challenges of a prolonged recession. This will in future impact on a wide range of issues such as employability, public health, engagement, communications, trust, public body reputation and cohesion.
New challenges continue to arise. In the coming years we anticipate the following increasing in importance as we emphasise the need to put Values First:
- Service Transformation as organisations face the challenges of engaging with stakeholders and their public over for example more shared services. Ipsos MORI’s end of year survey here, illustrates some of the future challenges in this field.
- Clinically led commissioning. The new arrangements will put many GP’s on the front-line of public engagement and may lead to their current high levels of public trust being eroded.
- Local government led public health. From 2013 local Councils are likely to have a significant opportunity to pilot new holistic forms of public health interventions.
- Social Investment. Iain Duncan Smith, speaking last week, talked about social investment being the way to increase the capital available to build local ‘Big Society‘ programmes and the urgent need for an evidence base. TCC already has trained practitioners in this field.
TCC Managing Director, David Evans reviewing the ten years said:
“Its been an exciting time working at the cutting edge of public policy, developing new forms of engagement and research programmes to respond to the changing needs of our varied client base.
“We would like to thank clients past, clients present …. and clients future. It has been a great decade and we are still learning and working at getting better at what we do. We are also so grateful for the many people who have been part of our team over that time (over 200!).
“And we would like to think that we have made a difference (in a good way) for the people we have been fortunate enough to work with.
“As you probably know, Jonathan is taking a back seat now and has moved to South Wales so we are having to face up to the next ten years without him at the helm. But TCC will always reflect his vision, imagination and drive.
“We are looking forward to the coming years as we demonstrate that one can deliver quality work that also provides value for money. TCC has risen to the challenges of the times and looks forward to the next ten years.”