In 2019 a short consultation with universities working on civic agreements was undertaken by the University of Newcastle and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement. The consultation included interviews and responses to an online survey completed by 30 institutions. Respondents to the consultation articulated three rationales for preparing CUAs:
- The turbulent political and policy environment mean CUAs are important as a tool to strategically prioritise a civic role.
- Building on what, at present, might be ‘informal agreements’ between institutions and stakeholders.
- A mechanism for self-assessment and peer evaluation to hold the institution to account in terms of reaching different outcomes (but not driven by metrics).
From this consultation, we now have a better understanding of the common issues and questions universities are grappling with. Five issues emerged as being particularly worthy of attention as you embark on developing a civic strategy or civic agreement:
- Local public voices should be at the heart of your Agreement
- Be clear about the role of the university in the partnership
- Be clear about the geography
- Identify required resource, leadership and institutional capacity
- Recognise and manage the risks