An email arrives for me headed "Update your community engagement skills – Internatio​nal Certificat​e

It says:

Recognised by both the Homes & Communities Agency and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, as delivered by Essential Planning Ltd, the IAP2 Certificate Programme is a 5-day, 3-module professional development programme, devised by and in consultation with practitioners around the world.  The Certificate provides all you need to know about devising effective public participation programmes (Module 1 – Planning), communications processes, skills and techniques (Module 2 – Communications) and linking technique selection to different levels of engagement, providing a broad understanding of what, when and how to use different techniques (Module 3 – Techniques).  Thousands have benefited from the training worldwide, including over 40 organisations in the UK and Ireland.

The full certificate costs £1,250 + VAT.  Discounts are available as follows: – for any enrolments on the full Certificate training received by 13th May – 10% advanced booking discount.  – to any organisation registering 2 or more participants (new offer!  Discount based on number of participants, and is in addition to the advanced booking discount).- a further 10% discount to the 'voluntary and community sectors'.

I wonder if I would be get the certificate for just turning up – or if I would have to pass a Community Engagement exam at the end. Real community engagement means cutting through the bureaucracy – for instance in allowing street parties to take place for the Royal Wedding – not in adding layers of it and going off on courses. I wonder how many councillors, charity workers, etc, will be spending their own money to go on this course? I am not inclined to do so. Still less am I inclined to attend at the expense of the noble, long suffering, Council Taxpayers of Hammersmith and Fulham.

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