Since 1995 – Scottish Participatory Initiatives has designed and facilitated Community Mapping and Action Planning processes and training for many of the local authorities in Scotland including: Highland Council, East Lothian Council, Edinburgh City Council, North Lanarkshire Council, South Ayrshire Council, Dunbarton Council, Fife Council.
In recent times there has been increasing talk and policy declarations about involving local people in development interventions but the reality is that there is still little attempt to involve more than the usual suspects. What makes Scottish Participatory Initiatives (SPI) unique is its ability to allow more than the usual voices to be heard in design, planning, monitoring, evaluation and research.
Traditional style meetings and questionnaires are still the main public consultation approach. This means that the majority of the public is rarely involved or heard. Local authorities in Scotland are becoming aware of this mismatch between rhetoric and reality and have been keen to invest in processes which reach out to the silent majority.
SPI has worked for most local authorities in Scotland either by managing consultation processes on their behalf or by training local authority staff or local people to manage them.
SPI is recognised for its pioneering work in Participatory Appraisal (PA) in the UK. The philosophy is to avoid using pre-packaged or labelled approaches. SPI designs, processes and adapts or invents tools to achieve the specific objectives of particular clients, and to ensure that more than just the usual people are involved in public consultation. This is essential ground breaking work in our new Scottish Democracy.