I’m thrilled and proud to be joining Involve as Programme Manager. Having worked alongside my colleagues at Involve for the last year or so as Local Government Associate, I’m really looking forward to contributing as one of the staff.

A little bit about me: I’ve long been interested in citizen participation and engagement, and the ways in which power and legitimacy flow between ‘ordinary’ people and their governments. I’m a fairly straightforward democrat – the people are sovereign – but for me this is about much more than just the bargepole of occasional voting. It is plain good governance to actively engage and involve your citizens.

I started off my professional life in Environmental Health in local government – looking down blocked drains, promoting food safety (having washed my hands first), and tackling the worst of some appalling housing conditions (and this was London in the 1990s, and probably still is). I joined the Audit Commission in 2001 where I had various roles including lead inspector and regional lead for the Commission’s work on democratic renewal and public sector partnership working. I did my Master’s dissertation on citizen participation in local authority decision making, based on original research across England’s local authorities.

For the last couple of years I’ve been freelance, and examples of my work here include undertaking a strategic review of public participation for East Staffordshire Borough Council and working with a team of colleagues to set up Local Healthwatch in Derbyshire.

One of the things I’ll be doing at Involve is adding some strategic capacity to the organisation, both in terms of programme management and also helping to consolidate and extend our work with partners. I’m looking forward to meeting our friends, clients and networks. Please do get in touch!

-Clive Mitchell  clive@involve.org.uk