Westbourne – Know your campaigners event

    Know your campaigners – speaker briefing note
    Wednesday 25
    th
    June 2014 |  | 17 Carlton House Terrace

    Who we are
    Westbourne is a communications consultancy (www.changeopinion.com). We help
    organisations tell their story and have effective conversations with the people that
    matter to them.
    Our specialist engagement practice, Engage Opinion (www.engageopinion.com), works
    with clients to connect with their communities and make better decisions. We encourage
    our clients to sit down with campaigners to have a genuine, honest dialogue on key
    issues.

    Background to the event – the report
    With new democratic powers and the rise of social media the traditional balance of
    power has changed; and in recent years we have seen the visibility and efficacy of
    campaigns increase dramatically.
    This has led to a ‘battleground’ culture and companies and campaigners routinely
    approach each other with a default attitude of hostility. Companies see campaigners as
    impediments to whatever they are trying to achieve. Campaigners feel they have
    something important to say but are being ignored.
    We decided to speak directly to around 30 of the most active individuals from across the
    country to understand more about the experience from the other side of the table.
    We asked them about some of the challenges they face in getting their voices heard and
    how they would like to be engaged and produced a report, Know Your Campaigners, that
    summarised our findings.

    The Panel
    We have put together an interesting and diverse collection of panellists to discuss the
    role, importance and changing nature of engagement. Alongside yourself, this will
    include:
    ? Peter Tatchell, Peter Tatchell Foundation
    ? Dr Evan Harris, Hacked Off
    ? Lottie Dexter, One Million Jobs

    The purpose of the event
    The event will launch the report “Know your Campaigners” and will be an opportunity to
    summarise the findings and delve deeper into the issues, bringing together campaigners
    and organisations to talk together in one room as part of a constructive conversation.

    Who will be invited?
    Invitations for the event will be sent to Heads of Communication and Engagement at all
    of the major private and public sector organisations involved in key campaigning areas
    such as development, healthcare, media, equalities. We will also be inviting consumer
    groups, smaller campaigns and the heads of campaigns at major charities and NGOs,
    including many of the campaigners that we interviewed for the report.

    The event agenda
    The agenda for the event will be as follows:-
    ? Introduction to the event and speakers by Chair (James Bethell) (5 mins).
    ? Presentation of the findings of the report by Westbourne Engage Opinion team (10
    mins).
    ? Panel discussion (30 mins).
    ? Audience Question and Answer session (40 mins).
    ? Wrap up by Chair (5 mins).
    ? Drinks and networking.

    The format of the discussion
    Your experience on the Cure The NHS campaign offers a fascinating insight into
    engagement that would complement the findings of our report very well.
    There format of the event will be an informal Question Time style panel discussion, with
    questions from the Chair followed by the audience.
    Panellists will therefore not be expected to draft speeches for the event, but it would be
    helpful if you could prepare talking points you might like to raise in your answers around
    the following questions:-
    ? the importance of engagement
    ? if, how and why engagement is changing
    ? why your campaign values engagement
    ? your experience of the difference between public and private sector engagement
    (including good and bad practice examples)
    ? what organisations should do to better engage with campaigners

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