It seems to me that a challenge we’ll have to confront in future months will be the protocol for decision-making and at what level decisions are made. I’d like to suggest that within the broad framework of our project’s aims and objectives – which will be constantly reviewed and developed by our core partners in discussion – we should aim for subsidiarity and flexibility as much as possible. Like the small communities we’ll be working with, I suggest, we should devolve decision-making to those who will be directly affected. Can I give two examples of what I mean?
In discussions recently within my own farming community about the best time to host people coming on residency, I’ve found a strong majority for doing so in July and August. The Spring and early summer, people feel, is just too busy with lambing and then shearing; the winter is miserable (I quote) and long evenings will discourage socials. High summer, they feel, with agricultural shows and eisteddfodau would offer the best opportunities for cultural sharing, performance and so on. I’m not saying this is our only option, or that other factors might not take us in another direction. But if we did follow this community suggestion, I’d argue that it shouldn’t mean that other host communities might not opt for a different time of year, for equally good reasons. And if we can fit a flexible pattern into our planning--- why not?
Here's my second example: Jane Lloyd Francis recently suggested that she’d like to organise a series of ‘farm walks’ that introduced non-farmers gently to the work and way of life. They would be self-financing and independently organised. If we have a Wales steering group here, and one in each other partner nation, I’d suggest that responsibility for supporting Jane, or advising her on what to do, could be devolved to them.
As the project grows and becomes more complex, won’t it come necessary to devolve a considerable amount of our work to those directly concerned? What do others think?