Overview – Advocacy Planning & Plural Planning
Advocacy and plural plan making work on the simple principle to provide equity among all classes in the society, yet loopholes do exist. Studying them along with the claims, may lead to some solutions for the future plan making, if ever implemented.
There is an inter-relationship between advocacy and plural planning. Advocacy planning occurs due to differences in the opinions of public and government. Hereby, plural plan is born. If there would not have been groups opposing the singular public plan, plural plans and advocate planners to advocate them would not have been born. When plural planning is practised, advocacy becomes the means of professional support for competing claims, about how the community should develop. Pluralism describes the process, advocacy describes the role performed by the professional. Plural planning is an underlying feature and aspect of advocacy planning. Advocacy is born due to plural planning but not vice-versa. Advocate planners come into power when there is difference of opinion between the public plan and the people. When people tend to have a clash of opinions, they tend to make a different plan, putting forth their opinions and justifications. But still, they may or may not need a planner necessarily. But advocate planner is born due to plural plan. If all the countries work on advocacy planning, i.e trying to solve the issue of people, it may lead to an ideal situation. If there is only a singular plan, pressure to create plural plans may fall on the public authority. But instead, plural plan are made by respective interest groups. Plural plan accompanied by advocacy planning may lead to public participation. Advocacy planning defines the existence of concept of value neutrality and hence the preparation of plural plans with each plan guided by the ideologies of the people preparing it. Advocate planner defends his plan by highlighting the strengths of his plan and pointing out the shortcomings of the plans prepared by either group. This is done to win political support for approval of the planner’s client’s plan which is prerequisite for the financing and implementation of their plan.
Counter evidences of advocacy and plural planning
A coin has two sides and every pros and a con. Similarly, every evidence has a counter evidence too. The biggest challenge was, the civil rights movements had gained a decade of momentum which allowed criticisms to be heard. Paul Davidoff argued that rational planning model found alternative means to achieve the same problem but never debated on the end state desired. In ARCH, advocate planners observed that they were not really interacting with the poor, but instead they were interacting with the organised elements of the poor. Some counter disadvantages were seen in US, where it started; citizen participation, community action and comprehensive welfare centres made very little impact on fundamentally deprived status of poor and black in the US. Black militants claimed that advocate planners were only agents of white Americans seeking to dominate black people. Also, public plans are mostly government-funded, thus lack of funds is one of the main hindrances in efficient plural planning. Another challenge is that lack of complete agreement between the people as a group. Many a times, there may be in intra group conflict between people themselves, failing to reach at a common consensus. It may even lead to the failure of forming of plural plans, thus advocate planners dies. Also along with the lack of funds, lack of other resources may pose a problem also. Co-ordination, monitoring and value assessment of large group may pose a problem.
Thus, there are solutions to planning problems as well. The planner’s role is not to produce the best plan but to help to achieve community control and the best community planning process. A planner must subordinate his knowledge and values, and get involved in questions of power and politic. The hindrance of lack of funds can be met by federal government funding the plan rather than local government. Other organisations, like charitable funds can also. There should be a leader for the people’s group to manage co-ordination and proper monitoring among the group. Also leader can ensure unity among the group and reach at a consensus.
Thus I would like to conclude by saying that advocacy and plural planning model, although may be a rare or non-existent model but if applied on practical grounds may lead to an ideal problem-free city, with all the fairness and humanity for the public. With the advent of plural planning Public complaints and grievances may diminish or stop, criticism against the public plan may end and also a new definition of fairness for people may arise.
Case 1: Kazakhstan
Theoretically these may seem to be captivating, but some case studies throw light in support of the claim. One Stop Shops were introduced by presidential decree in Kazakhstan a few years prior to this research as the solution on to corruption and weak public service delivery. There had been much criticism in public and the media of the supposed effectiveness of the One Stop Shops and the minister in charge desperately needed an evaluation of the current problems and suggestions for improving the approach so it could fi t with local capacity. The researcher, who was at the PhD student and a policy fellow, was on a leave of absence from a government job in the Civil Service Agency. She was able to produce the research that was needed and made a connection to a key advisor in the Ministry of Justice (the agency with the responsibility to manage the implementation of One Stop Shops). They readily accepted her research input and her solutions focused on local capacity development.
Case 2: Macedonia
The passing of a Patient’s Bill of Rights of Macedonia was one of the commitments made by the country through the EU preaceesion process. It was on the country’s legislative agenda but not a stated priority for the new administration elected in the summer of 2006. The researcher, who worked for the Studiorum think tank in Skopje, had completed research on Patient’s Bill of Rights in 2006 through Open Society Foundations’ International Policy Fellowship program. A colleague and friend became the new advisor to the minister of health and was looking for policy suggestions to put forward. The researcher show the recent research, which the advisor liked and presented to the minister. Soon after, the researcher was asked to become the NGO representative on the ministry’s working group that drafted the legislation. She was also a member of the parliamentary working group when the draft bill went through the legislation and the Patient’s Bill of Rights was passed in July 2008.
Case 3: Mangolia
The issue of the revenue received by the Mangolian Government through mining contracts with the international mining companies has been hugely debated for more than a decade in Mangolia. Stories of large-scale corruption, unfairly negotiated contracts and environmental damage have been at the center of the discussion. All sectors have been involved because mining sector has the potential to revolutionize economic future of the country. The debate centred around the discovery of the economic future of the country. The debate centred on the discovery of one of the largest copper deposits in the world, the Oyu Tolgoi mine. It was estimated that this one mine alone had the potential to double government revenue, if negotiated and managed properly. The initial negotiation with the mining consortia, completed with the ministerial working group, was closed discussion, although many tried to get involved. Once draft contract was submitted to the Parliament, it became public in July 2007, and the Open Society Forum pushed quickly to reveal the shortcomings of the contract by commissioning an expert analysis and making the findings public. This was one key ingredient that led to street protests, and with this push they were able to prevent the quick approval of the agreement by Parliament.
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