We at The ABC of Community and Resident Involvement distinguish between Community Involvement and Resident Involvement thus:
Community Involvement refers to various types of consultation with community groups and charities to gather information from their specific communities - of geography or interest - to provide, for example, Evidence of Need to support fundraising applications or information to measure Social Impact. Read more...
Resident Involvement is more specifically working with the tenants of social housing providers. Read more...
If you expect your residents to take responsibility for their communities and improve neighbourhoods and/or, if you would like your users of service to help develop - and to improve - services, they must be allowed to participate in making decisions and not just have changes or new services imposed upon them.
It is both insulting and dismissive for anyone to be told about a significant change - which will impact on their lives - rather than being able to discuss the change and give valuable insight from their unique viewpoint.
Theoretically, there are many levels of participation. The diagram on the right clearly shows that at the lower end, tenants and communities are not actually involved in the decision making process, although attending events and the level of participation could still be high. Whereas at the higher end of the ladder, participation is about tenants and communities having more power to negotiate and change the status quo. Their voices are heard and responded to. There are varying levels in between.
Please note Involving Communities will only ever agree to conducting consultations with your charity, community group or tenants if it's meaningful consultation. We are able to conduct any level exercise providing we are able to be honest and upfront.
Arnstein's Ladder of Participation
Source: Arnstein, S. (1969) ‘A ladder of citizen participation’, Journal of the American Institute of Planners 35.4: 216–224