What do we mean by social planning and policy change?
___Social planning is the process by which policymakers try to solve community problems or improve conditions in the community by devising and implementing policies intended to have certain results.
___Current thinking and experience points to good social planning and policy change being connected to community participation in the process.
Why should policymakers engage in a participatory social planning process?
___Community participation makes it more likely that you'll come up with policy that's effective.
___Community participation leads to community ownership and support of whatever initiatives come out of a social planning effort.
___Policymakers, particularly elected officials, can gain politically from involving the community.
___Community members can inform policymakers about changes in circumstances that demand changes in policy over time.
___Community participation can create community relationships and partnerships among diverse groups, who can then work together.
___Community participation helps keep community building going over the long run.
__Community participation contributes to institutionalizing the changes brought about by changes in policy.
___Community participation energizes the community to continue to change in positive directions.
Why should the community engage in a participatory social planning process?
___Participation provides the opportunity to educate policymakers to the community's real needs and concerns.
___Participation allows community members to help create policy that really works to meet their needs.
___Participation affords community members the respect they deserve.
___Participation puts community members in control of their own fate.
___Participation builds community leadership from within.
___Participation energizes the community to take on other issues or policy decisions in the future, and to see itself as in control of its future.
___Participation leads to long-term social change.
When is social planning and policy change appropriate?
___When the community asks for it.
___When an issue or problem has reached crisis proportions, and it's obvious to everyone that something must be done.
___When there is a long-standing major issue - poverty, violence, housing, hunger, etc. - that has attracted policymakers attention.
___When there are resources made available to address the issue.
___When a powerful figure - a president or prime minister, a leader in Congress or Parliament, a governor, a mayor - is concerned about a particular problem, issue, or population, and determines to do something about it.
___When a strategic or economic planning process that policymakers engage in determines that a particular issue must be addressed, or that particular communities or populations need some kind of assistance.
___When it becomes apparent - on the municipal, state or provincial, or federal level - that there is a general economic, social, and/or environmental downhill slide that needs to be stopped.
Who should be involved in social planning and policy change?
___Those whom a policy is meant to benefit.
___Those whom a policy is meant to control in some way.
___Those who will have to administer or enforce the policy.
___Those who work with or serve a population that is directed affected by a policy.
___Organizations or businesses that stand to gain or lose revenue or other resources, or will have to alter their mode of operation because of a potential change in policy.
___Policymakers and public officials.
How can policymakers engage effectively in social planning and policy change?
___Make contact with agencies, organizations, and individuals that know the community well, and use their knowledge and credibility to ease your way in.
___Make your goals and process clear in small meetings that lead up to a larger one.
___Hold a community meeting to explain your purpose and start recruiting community members to participate in assessment and planning.
___Schedule the next community meeting, and start the planning process.
___Provide whatever training or support is necessary.
How can communities engage effectively in social planning and policy change?
___Get to know and maintain contact with policymakers from the beginning, so that when issues of policy arise, you'll have an open communication line.
___Try to anticipate the community's policy needs, and approach policymakers before they have decided to act.
___Equip yourself with as much information as possible, both about the benefits of a participatory process and about the issue itself.