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Get Talking: Managing to Achieve More through Creative Consultation

GRATTON, Nicola and Beddows, Ros (2017) Get Talking: Managing to Achieve More through Creative Consultation. In: From Austerity to Abundance? Creative Approaches to Coordinating the Common Good. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. (In Press)

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Abstract or description

Purpose
The purpose of this chapter is to explore how public policy and service strategy can be influenced by meaningful public engagement (Bovaird, 2007, Boyle and Harris, 2007) using the Get Talking model (Emadi-Coffin, 2008) to co-produce services in times of austerity. Get Talking, an approach to Participatory Action Research (PAR), was used to engage young people in the development of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (SFRS) Children and Young People’s Strategy.

Design/methodology/approach
The authors adopt a case study approach, building on qualitative methods including focus groups and semi-structured interviews, to demonstrate how creative approaches were used by public sector staff to engage young people and partners in strategy development. To reflect the nature of Get Talking, creative consultation tools were used to facilitate the focus group activity. Initial research was followed by semi-structured interviews to identify the impact of the resulting strategy on the organisation.

Findings
Using Get Talking as an approach to policy development provided SFRS with insight into the needs of young people. This resulted in a more relevant strategy being developed and a cultural shift in how the organisation works with young people. Engagement with the Get Talking process had a positive effect on staff, providing them with a sense of ownership over the resulting strategy, enhanced the reputation of SFRS with partners and improved relationships with young people through demonstrating that they were valued partners in coproduction. While the approach was well received by all parties, challenges of using Get Talking in a public service setting resulted in pragmatic adaptations to a traditional PAR approach.

Practical implications
Staff who consult using PAR principles and creative consultation tools, require a resource investment of staff time, which is rewarded by the development of a targeted strategy to meet the needs of service users. The impact of using PAR to develop organisational strategy can be maximised through working in partnership with organisations and recruitment and training of a small team of community researchers.

Originality/value
The research adds to the body of literature particularly the work of Bovaird (2007) and Ledworth and Springett (2010) as it demonstrates the benefits of using participatory and creative methods of engaging young people in strategy development for public services and identifies the practical implications of using PAR in large scale public sector organisations.

Item Type: Book Chapter, Section or Conference Proceeding
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Humanities and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Nicola GRATTON
Date Deposited: 31 May 2017 13:17
Last Modified: 31 May 2017 13:17
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/3145

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