We recognise the need for customers and stakeholders to have greater opportunities and involvement in the democratic process, and to provide an environment that supports and encourages social responsibility and social action. Overall, we plan to develop a ‘together we can’ attitude, supporting collective social action, with our councillors as active facilitators and enablers, best placed to listen to, and advocate on behalf of, those hardest to hear in their communities.
Engagement is broader and deeper than traditional consultation. It’s about how we communicate with, involve, listen to, respond to and understand local people and stakeholders, and how we help people by developing ongoing relationships with them to become active citizens who can discuss and influence the things that matter most to them.
The benefits of engagement:
- Well informed decisions
- Different forms of knowledge
- Decisions based on well-rounded views
- Lasting change - when those closely connected to a project decide positive changes together they become motivated to ensure that the project delivers benefits that last
- Ownership - the process generates buy in and active support for implementation
- Avoiding or managing conflicts - by engaging the local community at an early stage, it's possible to identify potential or actual conflict, and actively work towards resolution
- Reduced costs - running participation processes does cost money, but over the longer term it can lead to speedier, smoother and more economical implementation
- Changed relationship -a good engagement process can build increased understanding and trust amongst participants
- Improved reputation - actively demonstrates the willingness to listen and make changes as a result, builds credibility and trust and helps establish a positive reputation
- Learning - the engagement process itself enables the different parties to learn about a wide range of things, from financial and organisational requirements to residents’ values and perceptions
We've developed an engagement toolkit to support good practice in the planning, implementation, analysis and review of engagement activity.
We undertake a wide range of engagement activity across all of our service areas. Some examples include:
- Face-to-face engagement at public meetings (for example local joint committees)
- Events and workshops (for example business board events, the voluntary sector’s annual assembly)
- Surveys (for example the Adult Services service user and carer surveys and Children’s Services Early Help Practitioner survey).
- Drop-in sessions (such as those held in libraries, customer service points, children’s centres and other venues).
We also get feedback through more formal methods, including formal consultations and customer feedback
We also deliver engagement projects focused on the development of local priorities such as the current Big Conversation.
Contact us to find out more about engagement.