What is a How Team?
The How Team is focused on how decision-makers and communities work together – how can we improve participatory democracy and develop channels to help local communities and agencies to engage with each other. The How Team complements existing elected representatives, amplifying the impact of representative democracy. Recognising that ‘one size does not fit all’, it brings community intelligence and ownership to engagement design to connect projects to the communities they impact.
The How Team that has been piloted consists of a mix of community members and government agency staff, convened by a community member and managed by Renew Brighton- a community group. The community positions are publicly advertised and selected by community leaders following an application process.
Community Reference Group vs How Team
The 'Community Reference Group' concept has been employed frequently by government agencies and is often familiar to them and communities. The differences between the How Team and a community reference group concepts are that the How Team:
- Focuses on how to have a discussion, not what the decisions should be. Their single focus is making sure the process is good with a view that if the process is better, the decisions will also be better.
- Is run by a community group, not a governmental group.
- Includes a mix of both community and government members with equal status.
- Pays community members for their time (also provides a meal at meetings and childcare costs for both government and community members).
- Has members chosen on their ability to listen and represent the common good rather than as representatives of groups, demographics or single-issue folk.