How to influence policy makers
Friends of the Earth has a guide on who should you lobby and what you could ask them to do for you. It also has tips on face to face meetings.
Lobbying your Council
Lobbying your council is of particular importance to advice agencies. NAVCA and Urban Forum have published a guide to help charities and community groups get the most out of their local councils. It explains the structures and workings of local councils as well as who is responsible for which issues, how to get involved with local councils and what councils are legally bound to do to properly engage with charities.
Local Area Agreements (LAA)
More and more services are commissioned through LAAs and it is important you find out what yours is about and influence it. You can find a comprehensive list of LAAs at the Improvement & Development Agency website.
The centre should gather lots of hard facts and figures about how they are doing that (how many clients they see, types of queries, etc) and also about the legitimacy of their organisation (quality systems, audits, governance).
The advice centre should then approach key individuals and groups on the Local Strategic Partnership (who sets and manages the LAA). Best point of call is their local Council for Voluntary Services representative, who usually sits on the LSP.
Basic details of each LAA can be found here
LVSC have also produced a LAA bulletin updating the single set of national indicators, with a summary of policy and guidance, including a link to the handbook of technical definitions which deals with how the indicators are measured:
Some websites allow you to find who your elected representatives are, and what they have voted on or been working on, which might be useful to know once you get in touch with them.
The Write To Them website allows you e-mail directly or to find the address of Parliamentarians (MPs), Assembly Members and councillors.
The They Work For You website allows you to check what MPs have been doing in Parliament.
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