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A more collaborative, imaginative and localised culture

An excerpt from Ann Light and Deborah Mason's contribution to our Radical Visions of Future Government collection.

Earth 2030: Governance for Life on an Evolving Planet is set against the growing instability of the planet's climate to tell a positive story about the need to re-organise governance at the local level, to allow more flexible, quickly-implemented and localised decision-making. It imagines a governance strategy in 2030s England and Wales that makes the best of limited revenue and greater demands on emergency budgets by implementing a more collaborative and imaginative culture. Key to this new culture is the ‘Creative Facilitator’, a new type of public servant who works with small communities - ‘districts’ - to problem-solve and achieve local self-sustainability. Creative Facilitators respond to a range of issues depending on where they work, from ‘change-grief’ from residents who are unhappy about the changes that climate crises have demanded, to ensuring incoming and outgoing seasonal migrants are well-prepared.

Here, we explore the role of the Creative Facilitator through a 2030 job description.

Job Description

Creative Facilitator

Reports to: Regional Creative Facilitator Coordinator, South Central Region

Direct reports: Facilitation Assistant (joint)

Grade: 3XF

Financial authority: Up to £1000 as joint community signatory

Purpose of role

The Creative Facilitator works with people of the district (approx 2500 people) to imagine, initiate, develop and maintain local systems. Using imaginative and creative facilitation techniques, the CF encourages open-minded thinking within the district population to find the best solutions to local issues.

The range of issues that a CF will address varies from district to district, but is likely to include:

  • Transport
  • Local hygiene services (rubbish, decontamination, drains and sewers)
  • Wildlife and biodiversity initiatives
  • Food resources (including home-growing, food exchange/marketing, management of foraging, fishing, trapping)
  • Accommodation resource and maintenance
  • Innovation (at district level, or to be shared through the DfC innovation network if transferable across the region or country).
  • Management of resource and requests for additional resource via the Treasury management system, based on local needs and outcomes.

Once embedded in a community, the CF often takes on the role of ‘trusted person’ and may find themselves acting as mentor, play-fellow, sounding board, celebrant, or mediator. These are important additional aspects of the role and we encourage all CFs to embrace them. Further training is available if required.

As well as helping the district manage the standard package of money, equipment and data, Creative Facilitators may also be involved in crowdfunding for additional resources and may, on occasion, request central support via the Treasury (see below).

Context of the role

This diagram shows the structure of the role and reporting lines:

diagram - Earth 2030

CFs are appointed by and report to the Department for Creative Engagement (DfCE). Each district belongs to a region: a regional CF coordinator provides support and coordination at district level, and a link to other government departments and information on new policies, initiatives and directives.

CFs work closely with their neighbouring district equivalents through day-to-day conversation and regular scheduled meet-ups.

CFs are likely to work in their districts for 10+ years with opportunities to be seconded as super-facilitators working at a national and international level or civil servants at the DfCE or DfC.

Role description

  • To facilitate community sessions and expedite the resolution of issues between different groups and/or individuals in the district using a variety of creative facilitation techniques
  • To liaise with the local hub to obtain necessary materials, space and resources for formal and informal facilitation sessions. Where resources are not already available, to work with the regional CF coordinator to determine the best approach to resourcing, which may include crowdfunding or an application to the Treasury Fund for Creative Enablement (TfCE).
  • To determine the appropriate mix of regular, issue-based and small-group sessions and to set up and run these sessions as outlined below:

Regular sessions

To organize and run a number of ongoing group sessions with the district population to create positive relationships and for ongoing management issues (e.g. food resource) where appropriate.

Issue-based sessions

To attend to issues that do not fall into a regular session topic but may need one or more facilitations to reach closure or a good solution. These should be scheduled to allow the largest number of people to attend (e.g. evenings, weekends and daytimes).

One-to-one, family and small-group work

To diagnose where individual and small-group work is called for and to run as determined. People in some districts are resistant to facilitation and subject to change-grief that prevents them from making a positive contribution. Experience suggests these people held local power and exerted influence in the past and benefit from smaller facilitations.

Innovation

To encourage innovation, requesting additional Treasury resource to facilitate testing or deployment of innovative solutions as appropriate.

Hardship

To agree with the district when to request additional resource to deal with existing hardship or make a case for new or developing hardship as defined in the Climate Change Emergency Act 2025.

Essential Qualifications and Training:

Creative Facilitator Training: Level 1

Vulnerable Persons Protection Certificate

Desirable Qualifications and Training:

Creative Facilitator Training: Level 2

Celebrant Certificate

Mediator Training: Level 1

You can follow Ann Light on twitter @strangertohabit and Deborah Mason @DebDaveMason

Explore a selection of the other contributions as part of our Visions of Government 2030 feature.

Author

Ann Light

Ann Light is Professor of Design and Creative Technology at the University of Sussex and Professor of Interaction Design, Social Change and Sustainability at Malmö University.

Deborah Mason

Deborah Mason is an artist and cultural and environmental activist.