We developed a model for community-led decision-making to build trust and a positive working relationship between CDS Co-operatives and residents at Phoenix Place, helped deliver improvements to green spaces as a way to bring people together and build community on the estate.
Working in Coproduction
This project trialed a new way for CDS Co-operatives to relate to its residents in order to improve outcomes for everyone involved. CDS residents and staff were supported by CLH London to work together to make decisions on the future of the estate, through a process known as coproduction – “a relationship where professionals and citizens share power to plan and deliver support [or services] together, recognising that both have vital contributions to make.” Central to the project was the establishment of a resident panel that was tasked with advising CDS on the improvements to be made to the estate. The panel was selected to ensure representation of the wider estate on identifiers such as age, gender, tenure and where they live on the estate. Typically, the panel would be selected at random and then disbanded after the project. In this case however, additional participants were invited to join a pre-existing group.
Throughout the process the resident panel were supported to make informed decisions on what improvements to make and who would be best placed to carry them out. This support included facilitated workshops to identify and prioritise collective needs and ambitions, as well as helping to understand detailed information on budgets, service charges, health and safety etc. As a result, a set of clear, achievable actions were proposed.
In addition to the Action Plan, a number of unintended outcomes resulted from the project. These include:
- Improved relationships: Better relationships between CDS staff and residents.
- Shared responsibilities: Collaboration between residents, CDS staff and external contractors has led to a sharing of responsibilities in areas such as maintenance of plants and shrubs and access to the shared gardens. Any efficiencies depend on sustained voluntary commitment of residents.
- Increased awareness: In designing proposals that were realistic and achievable, residents gained new knowledge on issues such as services charges, maintenance budgets, statutory requirements and health & safety. This enables them to collaborate effectively with staff and contractors and to better understand and contribute to future decision-making.
- Phoenix Place Green Spaces Group: A volunteer group of residents have taken on responsibility for implementing and maintaining improvements to green spaces and supporting other residents to get involved.