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close this bookNegotiator : The Councilor as Negotiator: Handbook 7 (UN Habitat - United Nations Centre for Human Settlements )
close this folderPart I - Essay on the council as negotiator
View the documentDefinition
View the documentSummary
View the documentReflection
View the documentConcepts and ideas
View the documentWin - win negotiating
View the documentAn enlightened view
View the documentReflection
View the documentWhy is negotiating important in local government?
View the documentRespect cultural differences
View the documentReflection
View the documentHow to negotiate more successfully
View the documentPrincipled negotiations
View the documentWhat do you REALLY want?
View the documentDon't announce positions but know what they are
View the documentNegotiation skills: one of the councilor's best friends
View the documentKey points
View the documentReferences

Why is negotiating important in local government?

Negotiation is an integral part of the political process, a process that involves reaching agreements on resource allocation, making decisions on who will do what within the governmental arena, and resolving disagreements among community groups. There is a fine line between conflict management and negotiation as skills the councilor can use to get things done. We've included the first in the handbook on The Councillor as Facilitator because we envision opportunities for you to intervene in situations where there is conflict. Sometimes the conflict has to be resolved, or at least modified, before the parties in conflict can get to the point where they are willing to negotiate an agreeable solution to their differences. If resolving conflict is more important than reaching an agreement acceptable to all concerned, you will want to rely on the skills and tactics we proposed in The Councillor as Facilitator. The process of managing conflict almost always involves a third party, someone outside the conflict who is asked to intervene on the part of both parties to help them resolve their differences. Negotiations also can involve third parties, but normally the process includes only those parties who want to come to an agreement.

Negotiating is an important skill within local governments for many reasons. First, local governments do not operate independently of other levels of government. Your organization is constantly involved in negotiating the boundaries of power and authority with central government agencies, with neighbouring units of local government, and with those quasi-governmental organizations that operate within your boundaries and carry out services and programmes that often overlap with those of local government. Secondly, the need for negotiating also can involve the most basic level of the governing process, that is, reaching agreement between a citizen and the representative of local government on a matter that may seem trivial to most but to those involved means a great deal. Since the process is so pervasive, it is important that all members of the local-government "family" who have contact with the public or other levels of government be given opportunities to learn more about the basics of the negotiating process.