Criteria and process for becoming an "official" Transition Initiative
Working with the many transition groups, we've established a living set of criteria that gives us an indication as to how ready a community is to embark on this journey to a lower energy future. If you’re thinking of adopting/adapting the Transition Towns model for your community, take a look at the criteria list further down this page and make an honest appraisal of where you are on these points.
If there are any gaps, it should give you something to focus on while you build the initial energy and contacts around this initiative.
Here's how to go about becoming "official":
- Have a careful read of the Transition initiatives primer
- If you have not already, Register and confirm your registration via email
- Add your initiative to the initiatives directory. Please make sure your profile title doesn't have "transition" as the first word, otherwise people will have a much harder job finding it on this system. You will be automatically classified as 'mulling it over'. You will not have a number yet as they are for official initiatives only.
- Make sure your core team have registered themselves on the system and add details about themselves with a short biography - it's been incredibly useful to understand what kind of people make a successful initiative. At least four please. Ask them to let you know their usernames so that you can add them to the initiative profile.
- Relate your core team to your initiative profile. You do this by adding their usernames in the initiative admin section. (Sounds technical but is truly a piece of cake).
- Make sure that you have added a good amount of information on your initiative profile. Things that need to be completed are:
- initiative name
- community type (rural, urban etc.)
- initiative type (local initiative, co-ordinating hub etc.)
- primary point of contact (on the contact form and for Transition Network)
- approximate number of people wanting to be part of the initiative (the 'members' input box)
- core team (at least 4)
- website (if none, no panic, your initiative profile is a good starting point)
- approximate community size (ie population): in the 'further information' box
- Download and complete the criteria response form and attach it to your initiative profile (sounds technical, but dead easy).
- Then send a notification to Ben, our co-founder and 'overseer of official-ness' asking him to review your initiative profile for "official" status. If you include a link to your profile page, it'll make it easier for him to review it.
- Ben will review, assess, ponder, think and generally apply his wisdom to the situation and be in touch with you...
US-based groups have a similar process which is managed by the Transition US team. It is a similar process technically and we are working with them to smooth it all out, but for now please email the Transition US team and use the form provided by Transition US here.
Why the formality?
We've introduced this slightly more formal approach to registering Transition Towns/villages for a couple of key reasons:
- Our trustees and funders want to make sure that while we actively nurture embryonic projects, we only promote to "official" status those communities we feel are ready to move into the awareness raising stage. This status confers additional levels of support such as speakers, trainings, website ("community microsites") and forums that we're currently rolling out
- In order to establish coordinated programmes (such as combined funding bids to the National Lottery) we need a formally established category of Transition Initiatives that we're fully confident can support and deliver against such programmes.
- We've seen at least one community stall because they didn't have the right mindset or a suitable group of people, and didn't really understand what they were letting themselves in for.
These criteria (download the response form here) are developing all the time, and certainly aren’t written in stone.
- an understanding of peak oil and climate change as twin drivers (to be written into constitution or governing documents)
- a group of 4-5 people willing to step into leadership roles (not just the boundless enthusiasm of a single person)
- we recommend - time and resources permitting - that at least two members of the core team aim to attend the 2 day Training for Transition course (according to those initiatives who attend, it really does seem to make a huge difference). These are now available internationally, listed either here or on the National Transition Hub for your country.
- a potentially strong connection to the local council
- an initial understanding of the 12 ingredients to becoming a TT
- a commitment to ask for help when needed
- a commitment to regularly update your Transition Initiative web presence - either the "community microsite" (collaborative workspace on the web that we'll make available to you), or your own website
- a commitment to make periodic contributions to a blog (the world will be watching) either on the Transition Network site itself or on one that we can aggregate onto the site
- a commitment, once you're into the Transition, for your group to give at least two presentations to other communities in your vicinity that are considering embarking on this journey – a sort of “here’s what we did” or "here's how it was for us" talk
- a commitment to network with other TTs
- a commitment to work cooperatively with neighbouring TTs
- minimal conflicts of interests in the core team
- a commitment to work with the Transition Network or your National Transition Hub re grant applications for funding from national grant giving bodies. Your own local trusts are, of course, yours to deal with as you see fit.
- a commitment to strive for inclusivity across your entire initiative. We're aware that we need to strengthen this point in response to concerns about extreme political groups becoming involved in transition initiatives. One way of doing this is for your core group to explicitly state their support the UN Declaration of Human Rights (General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948). You could add this to your constitution (when finalised) so that extreme political groups that have discrimination as a key value cannot participate in the decision-making bodies within your transition initiative.
- a recognition that although your entire county or district may need to go through transition, the first place for you to start is in your local community. It may be that eventually the number of transitioning communities in your area warrant some central group to help provide local support, but this will emerge over time, rather than be imposed. (This point was inserted in response to the several instances of people rushing off to transition their entire county/region rather than their local community.) Further criteria apply to initiating/coordinating hubs – these can be discussed in person.
- and finally, we recommend that at least one person on the core team should have attended a permaculture design course... it really does seem to make a difference.
Once you can demonstrate to us at Transition Network that you're on board with these, you open the door to all sorts of wonderful support, guidance, materials, webspace, training and networking opportunities - not all ready right now, but we're working on it.