Like all local authorities, Barnet Council is facing significant financial challenges in the coming years. It is taking steps to improve the prospects of its own financial future by growing the local tax base, transforming services and trying to manage demand.
An important part of its work is its Community Participation Strategy. It aims to increase the level of community activity across the Borough, build stronger partnerships between the community and the Council, coordinate and improve the support the Council gives to communities, and help the Council take more account of community activity. The aim is that residents and community groups will become more independent and resilient, can deliver more and take on more responsibility for their local areas. It is also designed to help ensure that services offer more choice and are better matched to local need and that the Council and the community work together to make sure community capacity is supported and used to its full potential.
Although the Council has good relations with the local third sector there was an awareness that there was far more activity going on ‘under the radar’ than the Council was tracking.
The aim of this project was to map the informal groups in Barnet, their networks and the connections between them to enable the Council to explore a broader range of potential models for reaching desired outcomes when commissioning services.
Through a combination of street-level mapping and semi-structured interviews we mapped the existing networks and generated a taxonomy of the different values that they create. Our report uses creative data visualisations to help tell the story of what is happening on the ground in Barnet.