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MODULE 3: Unit 2

Who is responsible for the problem you want to solve?

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Unit 3.2: Who is responsible for the problem you want to solve?

Who is your target in the campaignIn order to bring about change you need to know who makes the decision you are trying to change. Some decisions go through several stages. For example if you wanted to influence a council policy, the official decision might be made by the whole council, but they will generally act on the recommendation of the responsible committee or cabinet member. That committee may rely on information from the council staff members responsible for the policy. You will have the best chance of success if you can persuade all of these people to support you.Your campaign may have several targets – the person who makes the decision, the people who influence him or her, and high profile people who may be able to help your campaign. You can find out the name of your local council (or councils in areas where there are both County and district councils) You can search on your council website to find out who is responsible for the decision you want to change. Some council websites are easier to search than others. If you cannot find the information you want on the website, you may find it quicker to telephone the Council and ask who is responsible. As well as the main Council address, the Council website should also give individual contact details for local councilors.

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What does your target want / care about?In order to convince your target it helps to know what he or she cares about. You will be more likely to succeed if you can show your target how your campaign will help meet her or his priorities, rather than simply saying why it is important to you.These will include official priorities, such as areas of policy they work on, or particular targets that the Council has set. They will also include un-official priorities, such as winning votes, getting good media coverage, avoiding bad media coverage or being associated with a popular cause.If you can create public pressure locally through a popular campaign or stories in the media, then your target is more likely to have to listen to you. All public bodies will be concerned about their budget and avoiding potential legal challenges.Finding out about your targetYou can search your council website and the websites of local papers to find out what local councils have been doing. The political party that your target represents may also have a local website that will contain information about local campaigns and activities.If you use a search engine to look up the name of your town/city and the name of the local party, you should be able to find these fairly quickly. Your target may also have a page on Facebook (www.facebook.com ) or a Twitter account (www.twitter.com). This can be a good way to find out what issues they are concerned about.The Women’s Resource Center has produced a guide for women’s organizations using social media such as Facebook or Twitter. You can find it at:www.wrc.org.uk/includes/documents/cm_docs/2010/u/useful_links_for_lobbying_using_social_media.pdf

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What are the best arguments to persuade your target? The thing that persuades your target might not be the reason you care about the campaign. For example, you might want to keep a service open because it is the right thing to do and people need it. Your target might be persuaded if he or she thinks it will cost more money in the long run if the service closes, or because there is a huge amount of public opposition and the decision might cost votes. Who does your target listen to?You will be most effective when your target is under pressure from a number of directions. Think about who your target listens to, and how you might reach them. Try to bring those influential people into your campaign. Your local councilor may be able to help you reach the person in the Council who is actually responsible for the thing you want to change. You can search for the name of your local councilor (as well as your MP and MEP). Your Member of Parliament may also be able to help with your campaign. If the issue you want to change is a national issue, you can ask your MP to vote in a certain way if there is a law going through parliament, write to the Minister responsible, raise questions in Parliament, take part in debates. If the issue is local then the decision will be made by your local Council, not your MP. However your MP can be an important ally in contacting the Council.They may be able to write to or meet with the Council on your behalf, raise issues in the local paper or encourageothers to take up the campaign.

MODULE 3: ‘How to build a feminist campaign’

¡You have successfully completed Unit 3.2!