Deep Democracy and the Sectors in UK society - A response to an article by Craig Dearden-Phillips

I wrote this just after the June 2017 UK General Election in response to an interesting online article from Craig Dearden-Phillips in the 'Third Sector' entitled 'Whoever forms a government, we must just get on with it'

Thanks Craig for your reflections. I'm interested in your latter statement of the 'gradual convergence of our sector with others'. I run a social enterprise wellbeing service for children and families and increasingly i notice the need for the 'sectors' to work together to deal with today's complex problems. In a way that is maybe mirrored by the need for the political parties to work together more. Something which interests me is that each of the 'sectors' seems to have it's own unique essence, organisational pattern/style, and history. Also the powers and privileges of each sector vary tremendously. I have been in quite a few public sector meetings which operate with no reference to private sector, voluntary sector or social enterprises. And in third sector meetings in which there was a frustration with having no real workable connection to the public sector. Each sector represents different facets of the whole of society. I'm also thinking that grassroots communties are really also another 'sector' and often may not trust other sectors due to their real or perceived use of power, money, expertise etc..

So if convergence of sectors is a good thing. What may help to facilitate that convergence more effectively? The approach known to me is called 'Deep Democracy' which involves facilitating open forums and allowing the different viewpoints of different sectors to interact with one another (See. Amy Mindell's dissertation This work was developed by Arnold and Amy Mindell, Max Schupbach, Gary Reiss and others. The idea is that Deep Democracy goes deeper than traditional democracy which is the power of majority. Deep democracy in my words is an attitude which values all voices whether in the majority as well as minority, with the understanding that it is difficult to solve the most complex problems without connecting to the resonance between the 'sectors' in society.

I am thinking it would be great to facilitate some 'Open Forums' or 'Community Forums' with people from the many sectors. Maybe with the focus in a particular area for example 'Mental Health/Wellbeing in Young People in the XXXX community'. Not with a particular outcome in mind, but more rather to discover together what are the emergent properties of this kind of get together.

See also:

Deep Democracy - Amy and Arny Mindell

Deep Democracy Explained - The Deep Democracy Institute