To create change we need to influence people who have the power to make change happen

Campaigner with an MP

Types of people you might influence:

Depending on what needs changing, there may be many different people who have the power to make a decision that will make a difference.

You need to identify these decision-makers and tell them why an issue is important, how they can support you, and pressure them to do so.

A decision-maker could be a councillor, an MP, a police chief, a council department or a local organisation.

Often with campaigns, we might not have access to the person who has the power to make a decision or change something that we need. Therefore, we may need to think about who we can reach who can influence those people, and that will be the things that they can do.

For example, you might not be able to speak directly to a chief executive of your local NHS trust, but you could speak to your local councillor about issues with a local hospital, and get them to raise an issue on your behalf.

Things you might want them to do:

Agree to take action.

Publicly support your issue in the media.

Permit you to do something in a public space.

Depending on the change you want, it may be helpful to have the support of your local representatives, who are elected to stand up for local people, including you.

Influencing politicians is often called ‘lobbying’ – it’s how we try to persuade them to support issues we care about and make a positive change.

Finding out who your local representatives are:

MPs can promote issues at both a national and local level. To find out who your MP is, what party they belong to and how they have voted in parliament:  

  • Telephone the House of Commons Information Service on 020 7219 3000.
  • Contact your local town hall.
  • Type your postcode into the website writetothem.com – you can also use this website to send an email directly to your MP.

To keep up with what your MP is saying and doing in parliament then theyworkforyou.com can send you email updates with this information.

Councillors should help individuals with their problems and speak up on behalf of local community groups.

You can find out who your local councillors are by phoning your town hall or searching on direct.gov.uk.

Police and Crime Commissioners work across a range of agencies at local and national level to ensure there’s a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime:

You can find out who your Police and Crime Commissioner is at police.uk

How to influence:

You need to persuade them the issue is important – if you feel able to share personal experience of an issue this can be really persuasive.

Explain the benefits of supporting the campaign – to the local community and them.

Give information about the campaign – how it will make a difference.

Tell them what you want them to do and why – be specific.

Ways to influence

Meet them in person – local politicians hold ‘surgeries’ you can attend.

Send a petition – this shows other people support the issue.

Invite them to an event –to engage with local people.

Demonstrate outside their office – this draws attention to your campaign.

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