| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
In order to achieve the participatory definition of strategic guidelines of Valdera 2020, first of all it was designed a major participatory process that, in its various phases has requested nearly a year of work.(planning of the project, identification and recruitment of participants to be directly involved, implementation of preparatory meetings and EASW workshop, citizens voting on emerged proposals, rationalization of the work, approach of strategic guideline approved by the Council of the Unione Valdera and the dissemination of the results..).
At the end of the participatory process we, began the implementation phase of the strategic guidelines emerged, that are, included and connected to programming of the services of Unione Valdera.
In March 2011 the participatory process Valdera 2020 was approved by the Unione Valdera's Council.
In May 2011, it obtained the support of the regional Authority for the participation in the Tuscany region.
In June 2011 the Council of Unione Valdera defined four macro-areas focusing on the identification of strategic guidelines (environmental planning - economic development and environment - welfare system - institutional organization on the territory) fixing the start-up of Valdera 2020 project.
In July 2011 it was opened the website dedicated to the project: www.valdera2020.it. In the same month it was created a Guarantee Committee responsible for monitoring the performance of the project.
In August 2011, we passed to the identification of the panel of people asked to actively participate in the process of strategic guideline of Unione Valdera. Then, we proceeded to invite (first by ordinary mail and later by phone call) a group of citizens casually chosen. On the contrary, the different stakeholders invited to participate, have been chosen in order to obtain a significant and general representation of the macro-area examinated.
On 28 and 29 September 2011, at the “offices” of Peccioli and Pontedera were held the preparatory meetings with all participants at the EASW workshop. For the prior information of the participants it has been made available, on the website, some documents and some videos made on purpose for the project.
On the 7 and 8 of October 2011, the EASW workshops were held, during two days. The workshops registered the participation of 137 people that contribute to the definition of the strategic orientation of Unione Valdera in the 4 examined macro areas.
In November 2011 the strategic guidelines of action emerged by the workshops were published on the website and online votes started. All adults living in the municipalities of the Unione Valdera have the right of vote. The votes aimed at establishing priorities of action among the issues emerged in the workshop.
In January 2012 the results of the participatory process were published and disseminated.
The indications emerged from the participatory process were then rationalized and integrated with the guidelines and the guidelines already included in the policy documents adopted by the public bodies of Unione Valdera.
In March 2012 the Council of Unione Valdera approved the strategic guidelines as a result of the participatory process Valdera 2020.
The entire participation process of is widely documented into the already mentioned website
Today, the approved guidelines are used as a point for the planning services of Unione Valdera and for the implementation of new services, in order to satisfy the needs emerged from the participatory process.
In the attached file, we have provided the brochure with a synthesis of the strategic guidelines emerged from the participatory process Valdera 2020.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
During the initial phase, a few stakeholders from Valdera area participated to the preparatory works through a recorded video message, that, later, was uploaded on the website www.valdera2020.it.
The workshops of 7th and 8th October were attended by 137 people, including 77 private citizens and 60 people representing various and different stakeholders.
The stratification, initially defined in relation to the segment, "individual citizens" was partly distorted because of the actual subscriptions. However, it has been maintained an equal and representative distributions according to different parameters such as: gender (40% women; 60% men), age (20% between 18- 34, 40% between 35-49, 33% between 50-64; 7% over 75) of the four geographic areas of Valdera (35% Alta Valdera 21% Media Valdera Oltrarno 17%; 27% Pontedera).
The stakeholders included representatives from a wide range of public entities such as: municipal administrator both technical and political, public companies, private companies, trade unions, trade associations, representatives of professional bodies (engineers, architects, agronomists, surveyors etc..) social cooperatives, different associations, schools (teachers and students), operators from the local health authority etc ...
The participants were distributed within the working groups that were set up for the development of the strategic guidelines in the four fixed macro-areas (environmental planning, economic development and environment, the welfare system, institutional organization on the territory), trying to ensure the representativeness of the various social components among the citizens and the adherence with the matter dealt among the stakeholders.
In the final phase of online voting, open to the participation of adult citizens, it was registered the participation of 337 people.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The development of the participatory process of Valdera 2020 has been very long and structured, as well as demanding in terms of human resources involved.
The participatory process has seen the involvement of:
- Employees from Unione Valdera(a group of 15 employees divided into: n. 2 employees involved for the entire period of existence of the process (9 months) for about 900 hours of work - n. 2 employees involved for 5 months for about 500 hours each, and the remaining ones involved for n. 1 month for about 20 hours);
- The Interdepartmental Research Center for Argo-Environmental from the University of Pisa(15 subjects);
- The technical coordinators, experts in the specif matter of the thematic areas. (n.1 representative of the Province of Pisa, n. 1 representative of Pont-tech Company, n. 1 representative of ANCI Toscana, n.1 representative from the local schools net and association, Center of Educative and Didactic Resources);
- People identified as facilitators for the sessions of the 7th and 8th October (n. 7 people);
- All stakeholders who wanted to help with the "messages in a bottle", available on the site, used as clues for discussion.
The total expenditure was approximately 57,000.00 euros, divided into the following item cost:
1) premises and equipment (whiteboard, stationery, etc.) about 3.000,00 € ;
2)personnel costs, approximately € 32,000.00 € ;
3)communication and information, about 18.000,00 € ;
4)technical services (audio, video, documents, translation) about 4.000,00 € ;
The costs were financed as follows:
- Approximately 44,000.00 euros at the expense of the region of Tuscany as a contribution planned from the Regional Law 69 of 2007;
- About Euro 13,000.00 at the expense of Unione Valdera.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1.The positive atmosphere existing between the participants directly involved in the participatory process (137 people): in almost the totality of evaluation questionnaires regarding the project, the participants expressed opinions ranging from moderate to full satisfaction, with a very small number of disappointment. In general the participants, in every phase of the project, have expressed appreciation for the developing way of work, encouraging the repetition of similar events.
2. The specific document that showed which indications has been possible to include in the official planning documents, making clear the main output of the participatory process (accepted proposals and rejected proposals), expressing specific reasons for each choice.
3. The strategic guidelines approved by the Council, where it is presented a wide range of proposal emerged from the participatory process.
4. The inclusion of strategic guidelines approved within the general planning framework of the institution from 2013, in connection with the objectives (goals) which were established annually.
5.Starting from the participatory initiative, new relationships have been established among the participating institutions as well as between institutions and stakeholders. Starting from some lines of action, emerged from the process and formalized in the administrative documents, three major projects have been processed and presented in 2014 to the European Union to be acted along the wide area of Valdera:
A: REAL STEM Project (Robotics, Energy and environment, Agriculture: Learning Science through Expressive Means) that aims at increasing the expertise of the school population starting from problem solving approach and peer education;
B. CLIMAFOOD project (Climate change mitigation by accounting and improving on food production chain), aimed at improving the process of waste management and enhance the capability of rural areas;
C. STEP project (Social and Technological Empowerment Policies), aimed at developing the spirit of solidarity of the local community through planning and integrated management of interventions in favor of vulnerable groups of the population in cooperation with active associations on the territory.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
A. MONITORING OF PARTICIPATORY PROCESS
The participatory process, in its different phases, was monitored with standard measures of management control, particularly with a check list of expected actions in order to verify compliance with the time and the output.
People involved in the participatory process evaluated the experience through specific questionnaires.
A special Guarantee Committee, formed by 6 components, with recognized expertise of balance and equity, belonging to different areas of Valdera, and deputed to guarantee the neutrality 'and impartiality' of the participatory process, followed the process during its development, especially in terms of compliance of planned schedule and accuracy in output documents.
B. MONITORING THE RESULTS OF PARTICPATORY PROCESS
After the conclusion of the participatory process, the guidelines emerged from the final synthesis have been approved by the Council and, starting from 2013, included the planning documents of medium term under the current legislation (Elective Program of the President, Prevision and Programmatic Report) As we are dealing with strategic guidelines, their implementation is realized then, with physiological delay, through actions and intervention projects planned in the operational planning operative documents that are designed in order to implement the strategic guidelines, very often not fully controllable by agent.
The implementation of the strategy emerged from the participatory process is, then, monitored through the process of planning and standard evaluation according to the methodology PLAN - DO - CHECK - ACT. The results of this work are listed in specific report documents requested by Statute of Unione Valdera (Report of the President, Report on the implementation of the programs).
The actions, included in the planning documents, of Unione Valdera, show the clue of the program of strategic direction in order to monitor the effective implementation of the strategic guidelines approved.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
During the preparation phase, an important difficulty emerged in the recruitment of citizens, casually chosen. In fact, they often refused to collaborate because of different reasons.
This situation forced us to repeated re-sampling and even to the redefinition of some selection criteria. At the end of the recruitment process the expected participants in the workshop of 7th and 8thOctober 2011 there were 180, then, the actual presence was limited to 137 people.
Within the workshops there has been noticed a difficulty in synthesis because of the remarkable and varied range of emerged indications. The same indications have, eventually, led to the identification of a wide and ambitious range of the strategic guidelines to pursue.
It was decided, however, to “defend” the final results, stating that some content went beyond the field of the Unione Valdera, but they could still be taken as a planning reference by municipalities that belong to Unione Valdera
Another critical point regarded the online voting which received little adherence by the citizens, although it was noticed in a widespread campaign on the territory; the deadline of voting was then delayed, to give further opportunity to participate. The involvement in the electronic vote was low, although not dissimilar from other participatory events produced in neighboring local context. The identified causes regarded both the complexity of the vote (it was required more than 80 individual expressions of vote, related to a series of preliminary disclosure documents) and the vastness of the theme, certainly less attractive in comparison with options related to the realization (or not) of public works.
Further, the expression of votes only by electronic means reduces the audience of potential voters. Nevertheless the availability of public places where they can express the vote.