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The Framework Explained

Local Development Themes

The framework is built upon a 3 tier hierarchical structure of community development themes. These themes help:

    • Define a common language for local development practitioners
    • Provide means to tag and relate records
    • Provide a logical structure for the “Smart Local Teams”

The themes are reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

Key Entities in the Smart Community Council

The framework is designed to have a simple structure which can be easily adapted to the needs of the community no matter its size, characteristics or ambitions.

Community Council 

The council includes everyone who has signed up to be a member of the group who is delivering the program. The Council in turn is made up of the following sub entities.

    • Coordination team
    • Action Teams
    • Action Team Managers
    • Action Team Members

Coordination Team 

A group of people volunteer/appointed to this team which is reviewed each year. This team can 

  • Be a new team set up for the purposes of the initiative
  • An existing group which already undertake a similar role locally and they align their efforts to this model

This team has a variety of roles including:

  • Building Teams: Help to create and develop local action teams
  • Volunteer Management: Help onboard volunteers & help them find suitable local projects to match their skills and interests. 
  • Collaboration: Help action teams and other stakeholders collaborate within the community and the county
  • Administration: Help coordinate administrative, communications and financial supports for across the community 
  • Annual Plan: Working with the Action Team Managers every ~12mths undertake a review/update process on the community plan & invite all members of the council to support and sign. 

Action Team Managers

The smart community management framework includes a hierarchy of local development themes, there are 4 top-level themes which include: 

  1. Health Recreation & Quality of Life
  2. Environment & Sustainability
  3. Business & Employment
  4. Infrastructure, Planning & Governance

Each community will decide which “Thematic Action Teams” will be created for their community (A community may start in its first year with just 5-10 action teams and as they grow build out new action teams based on the interests of people who join. E.g. Year 1 might have one team: “Business & Economy” and in subsequent years also add “Tourism” and “Retail” as an additional sub Action team of “Business & Economy”. Every community then could have a different array of local teams, particular to the characteristics and interests of people in that community.  The Action Team Managers are responsible for:

  • Building Teams: Help to create and develop their action teams
  • Volunteer Management: Help onboard new volunteers & help match their skills and interests to related local projects. 
  • Collaboration: Help their action teams to collaborate with other stakeholders in the community and the county
  • Administration: Working into the “Coordination Team” help coordinate administrative, communications and financial supports for their projects
  • Annual Plan: Every ~12 months undertake a review/update of their action plan. 

Action Team Members

Everyone who lives in and is associated with the community is invited to join as a Team member. To join, people must join online or through a coordination team member, they also must agree to the terms of the organisation which includes respect for other members and to agree to help take a positive approach to local development, these criteria are set out in the community charter. Once someone joins they are free to:

  • Join one or more action teams
  • Get involved in setting up a new action team
  • Attend action team meetings and help with local projects
  • Attend the AGM where the “Community Action Plan” is launched

Teams are flexible and can comprise of different types of members and undertake different levels of tasks, e.g.

> Sport & Recreation: Perhaps the largest team may be composed of local sports clubs, their members, local schools, local sports shops and physiotherapists and other interested locals  

> Cycling: This may be composed of simply three local cycling enthusiasts

> IT: This may be composed of the local enterprise board and local companies in the IT and digital sector and their employees   The teams can create a framework for local action in two ways:  

Champion Their Cause: The team can seek to understand and bring about positive change related to their area of interest. E.g. The local Age Action team undertakes a project to develop more social events for older people in the community.   

Help Other Community Causes: The departmentalised teams create an opportunity to build diverse teams who can cooperate and support each other in their endeavours  

E.g. 1: The communications team wishes to develop more content for the local website they may 

    • Engage with heritage group to provide suitable content
    • Engage with local business to develop a directory
    • Engage with Sports & Hobby team to generate relevant local news
    • Engage creative writing group to help prepare text for website

E.g. 2: The community decides they would like to develop a walk way in the area

  • Engage habitats team to help define interesting routes
  • Engage internal communications team to help find volunteers to help with the work
  • Engage local “Trades & construction” to provide advise of a technical nature

E.g. 3: A group decide they would like to develop night time economy

  • Engage with local artist and musicians on how they can collaborate
  • Engage with local crime team to ensure development is done in a safe and considerate manner
  • Engage with communications team (internal and external) to help promote the initiative

Laying the Foundations: Smart Community Council

Below we describe the steps to setting up a smart community council in your community. 

Beta Team

A handful of locals who have experience in coordinating local activity work with eTownz consultants to set up the program. This small team will be disbanded or perhaps absorbed into the council when the “Community Action Plan” is launched, thereafter the “Coordination team” will take over their duties

Survey Local Opinions

eTownz and the Beta team will survey members of the community to determine key questions such as

  1. Do they want a local community council
  2. What format should this council take
  3. Who can be involved & what aspects of local development should be address
  4. What projects should be prioritised

The results of the survey will then be used to develop a community action plan tailored to the needs of the community.

Review Plan & Manifesto

Based on: 

  1. Survey Results 
  2. Feedback from community workshops
  3. Feedback from local clubs and business 

eTownz will prepare the following documentation: 

  1. Community Action Plan: This plan will be designed in a manner that it will be easy to update in subsequent years.
  2. Community Charter / Manifesto: This will lay out the ground rules and mission statement for the community council
  3. Community council structural format: This document will contain simple format for running effective and efficient meetings, help define role of coordination team, action team (manager & members)

Launch Plan & Begin Program

The draft Community Plan, Manifesto and structural format will be sent to those who filled in the local survey for feedback. A finalised version will then be circulated and everyone in the community will be invited to be a signatory on these plans.    The launch will then see the disbandment of the beta team and the beginning of activities for the Coordination teams and Action Teams.    The coordination team will then plan for the community plans to be reviewed and agreed upon each year.    The plan aims to provide clear instructions on how each action team should run providing both flexibility to organise as they deem fit and structure which allows their activities to be integrated with other local action teams and the community council structure.

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