Big Aberdeen Values and Principles

The Big Aberdeen Action Plan published in November 2014 states:

This action plan is a proposal to … who care about Aberdeen from hundreds of people in Aberdeen … ACVO has enabled its development as a framework and will contribute to its progress.  The aims will only progress with your active engagement.  Whoever you are, whatever your interest, there is a role for you to play. 

The Big Aberdeen Action plan responded to delegates and public views on these questions:

  1. What can Aberdeen learn from other cities?
  2. What single improvement would improve the quality of life of the citizens of Aberdeen?
  3. How well does Aberdeen City fit the words “a great place to live, play and prosper”?
  4. How can we collaborate better to create an environment within which our young people (our emerging leaders) can shape their own lives and the lives of those around them?

The following points made by Keynote speaker Lord Andrew Mawson are underpinning values in the creation of this Action Plan.

  1. Put effort into understanding an area and the people who live there over many years. Learn to play with ideas and experiment to gain practical experience before developing structural forms often drawn from business.
  2. Don’t try to define social enterprise. If it works it works.
  3. Like talks to like. Ensure real innovation takes place. Work closely with social entrepreneurs to discover genuine new approaches to social problems and not simply regurgitate old solutions that civil servants can feel comfortable with.  There is considerable room for innovation here. Encourage innovative partnerships between business and social entrepreneurs. 
  4. Support the Social Venture Capital movement. Move beyond traditional philanthropy by investing time and business skills to tackling social problems. Plug the gap of smaller-scale private entrepreneurs engaging with social enterprise.
  5. Rather than inviting people to discuss what should happen, invite people to come and give them the tools to do. Don’t tell people to write a proposal, tell them to get on with it.  Ideas which go nowhere lead to new relationships, learning by doing and self-esteem. Forms do not.
  6. Allow leaders to be leaders.
  7. Focus should be getting the detail of service delivery right and having people with practical experience working in key positions.
  8. Develop smarter ways of engaging with the private sector and social sector together – business relationships where social enterprise earns fees and the private sector wins tenders, markets its offerings and where facilities are not underused.
  9. Build on the people and approaches that work. Produce evidence and base policy recommendations on it.
  10. Give more personal responsibility and hold individuals to account for what they do. When an individual takes a decision they are visible.

At the Path finding mission,  Andrew raised  our awareness of the need to recognise:

  • The relationship of form and function
  • The role of design and integration in making reality from purpose
  • The importance of creating a place where people can make connections grow and thrive
  • The value of working with key partners, stakeholders and local people to build vibrant communities

At the Big Aberdeen meetings on 18th March 2015, ACVO clarified that:

We are not planning any great big thing for ACVO to make happen alone. There is no artificial timetable preset without you.  We are not necessarily looking for Big Actions or Quick Actions –we are looking for Good Small Starts. We are not an exclusive group. We are the beginning of a network.  Just because someone isn’t here today doesn’t mean they have been excluded as we go on.   We are not necessarily looking for Big Actions or Quick Actions –we are looking for Good Small Starts.

Big Aberdeen Action can be communication of what already exists.  Communication can also be through new projects which model solutions and which others can pick up and run with or be inspired by, learn from and adapt.  With a collaborative approach across all sectors we can draw in resource which can support local voluntary and community groups and social enterprises for the future. We are looking for things that others can be part of or add to – by volunteering resources, by increasing communication channels, by identifying physical spaces where projects could happen.