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Associate Article: ‘People get ready’ – (Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions, 1965)

Written at the height of the civil rights movement, ‘People Get Ready’ was adopted by Martin Luther King as he advocated a calm and organised response to civil unrest. This mindset is probably needed right now in some of the debates going on across the UK about Active Travel.

Now this piece isn’t the usual ‘how to reduce the risk of challenge by undertaking best practice involvement and/or consultation’, though this is important, and tCI has some great free advice and guidance on their website. This article is aimed at advocacy organisations and the wider citizenry, and sets out a framework for successful participation in an involvement process. So, if you are thinking of marching or even penning a calm and considered response to a traffic management or active travel consultation, here are some things to consider.

Much has been written (and filmed and even live streamed) about the deteriorating relationship between car-people and bicycle-people (not forgetting that many people are both). However, this usually ends with a stand-off as local politicians charged with delivering change, often through a mandate of climate change or town centre revitalisation, find themselves unable to do anything for fear of an election impact. There’s actually evidence of a positive impact on election results if the right policies are found.

There is enough statutory guidance and case law around both involvement and consultation practice to ensure: people should know active travel schemes are planned in their area, that they are able to participate and indeed influence in the design and delivery of the schemes.

At tCI, we are developing new resources to help advocacy groups and citizens ‘to know, to be heard and to influence consultations’. Some experts in this field think that these could become legal ‘rights’ through testing in court, placing a legal requirement on consulting bodies to demonstrate they have enabled citizens to know, be heard and influence the matter under consultation (Jones, R. and Gammell, E. 2018, ‘The Politics of Consultation’, pp: 293-313, The Consultation Institute).

We are working with a number of advocacy groups to develop joint thought pieces such as this, as well as training their members in the law of consultation.

The Institute is currently supporting a number of local authorities with consultation and engagement projects for Active Travel schemes.

To ensure your process is robust, that engagement is meaningful, and for advice and guidance on your projects, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Damian Greenfield
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