Idea of the Month: By the people

| Helen Sharp

This isn’t a new concept but it’s one I’ve come across recently during my travels into the world of Asset Based Community-driven Development or ABCD. The theory goes something like this:

The power balance of public sector service activity between professionals and citizens can be described by the following:

  • To the people
  • For the people
  • With the people
  • By the people

Co-production is ‘with the people’, but push the power further – and you reach ‘by the people’. Co-production is a tangible way of reaching this and whereby many of us are striving to make ‘with the people’ happen, some of those working in communities are managing to step back even further and facilitate ‘by the people’. They’re seeing amazing outcomes as a result. We’ll be highlighting some of these on the Ideas Hub.

Background: ABCD was first developed as an approach by John Kretzman and John McKnight in America. It is a bottom-up way of working with communities that focuses on community strengths and assets. ABCD emphasises that ‘stepping back is best’ so that any development is driven by the community; not external agencies.

There’s a heap of information about ABCD on the internet and particularly check these sites out:

Key people: Cormac Russell from Nurture Development who champions ABCD in the UK. You can find a great TED Talk by Cormac (as well as our take on it) here.

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