Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

APEN 2001 International Conference

Toowoomba, 4th-5th October 2001

Report No:


Title of Topic:

Hidden Agendas: Perceptions are Real – Are they Necessary?

Name of Leader:

Sarah Hood/Graham Harris

Names of Participants:

Graham Harris, Ingrid Christiansen, Sarah Hood Dean Holland, Rob Neilsen, Greg Leach, Tonia Grundy, Bob Armstrong, Mike Bramley

Main points of discussion

  • Why did you choose this topic (what ‘hidden agendas’ do you bring)?
  • Mismatch between funding bodies and clients agendas
  • Hidden agendas of everyone – growers and government
  • “Best of a bad bunch”
  • Interested in the “perception” vs. “reality”
  • What is reported to Management differs from officers personal view of project
  • How do people deal with or manage hidden agendas?
  • Conspiracy Theory – are hidden agendas necessarily a bad thing?
  • Perception – planning and evaluating programs. How do people do an evaluation that is consistent with their perceptions but still of use to the project as a whole?
  • How to deal with those who have “overt” agendas that impact on project?
  • Rapid Rural Appraisal has been used to ascertain why drainage project not being supported – it identified that gaps in language and hence understanding of the problem at fault.
  • Do you as a facilitator make the effort to bring everyone’s agendas out into the open?
  • Perceived hidden agendas can be on both sides – Government vs. producers. So what strategies can you work out with your team to deal with these – use foresight to look at this during project development
  • Important that you relate to issues as seen by clients

Major outcomes (what have you achieved from this discussion; how can this make a difference; what else do you need to do?)

  • Two possible approaches – ‘conflict’ paradigm vs. ‘consensus’ paradigm – look for similarities and differences about issue amongst all participants
  • Be ‘honest’ with clients and work through those clients who you have a good working relationship with (to deal with ‘agro’-political interference)
  • Got to get clients involved – can depend on level at which you want to work – way of dealing with agri-political interference is by working with ‘grass-roots’ producers
  • Need key players in organization – those who can make a decision – to get involved in working with client groups. No point in the local field officer who can’t make a decision being the only one working with group
  • Developing ‘trust’ and ‘rapport’ – this has to be reciprocal
  • Hidden agendas never go away – best way is to deal with it – be ‘authentic’ and keep ‘contact’ with clients
  • There needs to be a peer support network that includes this sort of discussion.

Previous PageTop Of PageNext Page