Engaging with our communities and residents is vital to the Council in planning and structuring our services to meet your needs. We believe that the quality of our engagement should be consistently high for anyone wishing to get involved.
To help us achieve a consistently high standard of engagement the Council adopts the following approach:
Clarity and Honesty
When engaging with people the Council will be clear about why we are doing this (for example to help us make a decision or to provide us with valuable information) and will be honest about what can be achieved through people’s involvement. The Council will also be clear about what information gained from engagement will be used for.
Throughout the engagement process we will communicate with and listen to those involved in or having an interest in the issue (or issues) the engagement concerns. Key to this will be the provision of clear information to explain the engagement process at every stage, why we are seeking involvement and what the benefits of involvement will be to people and the Council.
Who we engage with
The Council recognise that when engaging with people, it is vital that the people affected by or having an interest in the issue (or issues) are involved. We also recognise the importance of people being able to bring issues to our attention and welcome the opportunity to respond.
When undertaking engagement the Council believe that everyone is entitled to have their say and get involved. We therefore make every effort to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get involved; and that people are not prevented or put off from doing so. The Council reserve the right, however, to take appropriate steps against abusive or prejudiced behaviour and will not condone discrimination of any kind.
To help give people the opportunity to get involved, the Council will set timescales that are appropriate to the issue(s) the engagement concerns.
The Council will also take steps to clearly communicate the timescales associated with engagement.
The Council recognise that there are numerous ways of engaging with people (for example surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc). The Council therefore aims to ensure that the method (or combination of methods) used is appropriate to the audience (the people taking part) and the issue (or issues) to which the engagement concerns.
The Council believe that the provision of feedback is vitally important to people and to the engagement process as a whole. As such, we will provide feedback to those involved in the engagement process and affected by the issue(s) it concerns by providing information on what the Council gained from the engagement; what decision has been made as a result of the engagement (if a decision was to be made) and what the next steps will be (for example, how the decision will be implemented, if one was made).
The Council recognise that some issues and situations are difficult and that it may not be possible to find a solution that everyone is happy with. While we will always ensure that decisions are made using the views and opinions of participants, we are also committed to continuing to work with those people who may have been left disappointed by the final decision. It is important to the Council that everyone is aware of how and why decisions are made and that disappointment with one decision does not prevent people from wanting to engage with the Council in the future.
Working in Partnership with Others
When engaging with people the Council recognise that many subject areas are common to other agencies and organisations. We will therefore continually look for opportunities to work in partnership with others wherever possible, as the most efficient and cost effective way of engaging with people.
The Council believe in continually assessing the effectiveness of our community engagement and are committed to changing our processes as a result of the feedback we receive. As such, we will provide people with the opportunity to assess our engagement methods as part of the engagement process.