For anyone who is yet to have a go, My2050 challenges you to get UK CO₂ emissions below 20% by 2050 by setting how much effort is applied to areas both in the Supply and Demand sectors – and it’s not a simple feat.
The Guardian asks four journalists what they would do differently
It’s interesting to see how individuals approach the My2050 challenge and to hear the rationale behind their decisions. The common theme to emerge from the Guardian article is how difficult it is to balance supply and demand – working out where, and how deep, the cuts should be.
“The exercise was valuable in forcing confrontation with demand as well as supply. The latter is easier to navigate.”
David Walker, contributing editor for the Guardian
Tracking the journalists’ thoughts and opinions as they were actually using the tool also helped to expose the difficult decisions which are needed.
“Oooh, it’s fiddly, this balancing demand with supply while getting down to 20% of current carbon emissions.”
Louise Tickle, social affairs journalist from the Guardian
Cardiff University explore the challenges of creating a national citizen engagement process for energy policy
In a more academic context, the My2050 tool proved useful in presenting the higher level complexities of system change to a varied audience, as well as improving engagement in policy change.
What all of these examples show, is the huge diversity of uses for such a tool – not to mention the broad range of individuals who can be engaged as part of what is a very complex challenge to address.
In the three years since its launch, the landscape (environmentally, politically, economically) has, of course, changed. Were My2050 built today, might the emergence of fracking, the decreasing price of oil and the renewed focus on nuclear power change the structure and approach?
These developments provide a good example of what the My2050 tool plays a part in – highlighting the continuous flux that underpins the complexity of balancing environment, economy and energy demand. That My2050 still continues to encourage discussion and Deliberation on the difficult questions around UK energy provision is something we are pleased about; perhaps the important thing is just that the conversation continues.
Examining how software can compliment, aid and add value to existing processes is a keen interest of mine. Our customers often ask how Citizen Space can be used to aid their workflow, or can be set-up in such a way to help manage approval processes. It may sound a little geeky, but I love hearing about when Citizen Space has made an organisations’ life a little easier.
We are regularly asked how other organisations choose to adopt Citizen Space internally and, broadly speaking, there are two methods of adoption – the centralised model or a de-centralised way of working.
How Citizen Space can be used to compliment a de-centralised method of working
The whole idea of this method is that policy teams are closer to the issues being consulted on. They can analyse and use information garnered through consultation to help inform the policies they are currently working on. In short, respondents’ answers will come through to those who really know the issues at hand.
Using Citizen Space in a de-centralised manner in practice, essentially involves rolling out the system across the whole organisation. This means utilising the systems’ robust user structure to set-up site admins (normally one or two) who take control of the overall set-up and ‘lead’ on the app. Department admins can then ‘advocate’ and check consultation quality standards within their team, whilst working with individual admins to run consultations. The following features can be used to help manage such a method of working in practice:
Trial our pioneer features such as response publishing and events to build in robust processes around consultation. Events can be used in order to show a proposed calendar of up and coming consultations and let respondents know about all what’s happening in their area. Response publishing allows for completely transparent engagement, by enabling you to publish responses (with consent).
How Citizen Space can be used to compliment a centralised method of working
Set up one or two site admins who have control over all consultations. This approach helps ensure there is an organisational overview of all consultation activity.
All consultations are built by one or two individuals within a small team who know the system the best, the aim here is to maintain a consistent quality approach.
Calendars can be closely managed, reducing the risk of survey fatigue to the public. Consultations can be created and templated by this central team before being copied across between departments using our newly released survey cloning feature.
Reporting on outcomes can be fully standardised and sent for action within the appropriate team.
Transport for London build their Citizen Space consultations within a core team and these are signed off by two key users who have established a consultation centre of excellence. Rochdale Borough Council also centrally manage their Citizen Space instance within their research team, meaning their analysis experts are part of the survey build, as well as assessing the consultation outcomes.
Choosing which method works for you, or indeed benefiting from both models of working, will of course depend on how your organisation is structured and what suits the skills within it. There certainly isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach here and many of our customers benefit from a mixture of both methods, adapting these as their use of Citizen Space evolves. Our aim is for all of our customers to become ‘consultation centres of excellence’, so if you would like to discuss these methods of working or other ways we can help you, please contact your account manager as we’d love to chat.
For this next installment in our Digital Heroes series we have called upon the joint powers of Anne Tansley Thomas, Chris Williams and Cressida McLauglin – otherwise known as Norfolk County Council’s consultation dream team. We’ve worked with Norfolk for 3 years and are constantly impressed by the enthusiasm and innovation they bring to engaging with citizens in the area. Their interesting consultations are an almost endless source of blog material, so we thought we’d give them their very own post. Let’s hear from the team on who they are and what they do…
1. What’s your name and where are you from?
Anne – My name is Anne Tansley Thomas and, although originally from Suffolk, I have found myself now living in the Norfolk Broads, working in Norwich.
Chris – My name is Chris Williams. I grew up in Bognor Regis – as the mural at the train station used to say – ‘where the sun always shines’.
Cressy – My name is Cressida McLaughlin and, while originally from London, I’ve lived in Norwich for the last 13 years after doing my degree at UEA and then failing to go home again.
2. What do you do for a living?
Anne – I’m a Senior Consultation and Involvement Officer for Norfolk County Council.
Chris – Senior Consultation and Involvement Officer at Norfolk County Council.
Cressy –My day job is Information and Business Support Officer for the Consultation and Community Relations team (not a mouthful at all!).
3. Favourite band and/or artist?
Anne – This changes on an almost daily basis so I hate to commit, but this week I am mostly listening to Caravan, Cecile McLorin, Salvant, Max Raabe & the Palast Orchester and The End.
Chris –That is too hard! I’m instead going to tell you what I’ve been listening to this week – which would be the latest offerings from John Mayer (some great blues guitar and a cool cover of ‘Call Me The Breeze’), Jake Bugg (very enjoyable, but not as good as his debut) and the Arctic Monkeys (best album of 2013).
Cressy – I love all kinds of music and am always finding new favourites, but at the moment I love Daughter, Paper Aeroplanes and Lissie
4. Android or iPhone?
Anne – White iPhone with Siri switched to the Australian accent
Chris – The iPhone is definitely better – isn’t that a fact rather than an opinion?
Cressy – iPhone without a doubt! I’ve never even tried an android phone, but why would I want to when the iPhone is so amazing?
5. PC or Mac?
Anne – Either/neither – I’m more interested in people and building communities and I’m happy to use all the resources available to do that.
Chris – iPad – hardly use my PC at home and never used a Mac.
Cressy – Mac. I’ve bought into the whole Apple thing and, certainly at home, would never go back to a PC. I love all things Apple, and their products are slowly taking over our house. I do lots of writing on my Mac at home and love it for its ease and simplicity and how quick it is (and the lit keyboard, which is so pretty – though I’m sure is actually supposed to be useful!)
6. Creature of habit or maverick thinker?
Anne – Habitual thinker
Chris – I love the sound of being a maverick thinker, but whilst I have a creative side, I definitely also have my habits. You would have to ask my wife which are the bad ones though.
Cressy – In some respects I’m a creature of habit, and like to have certain things exactly the way I’ve planned. I’m quite organised and tidy, and so have to have my working space just right, but I’m also creative and use my imagination a lot, so hopefully I’m not too set in my ways.
7. Your house is on fire, what do you save?
Anne – As I live in a thatched cottage this is a very sensitive question. In fact it has made me feel extremely anxious and I can’t answer it without first double-checking my insurance policy…
Chris – I’m going to assume that my wife saves Huey, our border terrier pup, whilst I go and get my Martin guitar.
Cressy – My husband first, although it’s more likely that he would save me! After that it would be my laptop – not because I’m that wedded to my Mac – but because it has my books (and years of photos) on it. In my spare time I write novels and earlier this year was offered representation by an agent, taking me one step closer to my dream of being published. It would be a disaster to lose those and, while I’m always emailing the latest version to myself and have them on memory sticks, I’d want to save my computer too just to be sure!
8. Biscuits – dunk or leave unsullied?
Anne – I like my food items dry, so please never offer me soup. I could possibly be tempted to dunk a biscotti in an Americano. I have also once dunked a ginger nut in a cup of rosehip tea.
Chris –I’m a biscuit purist – definitely unsullied.
Cressy – Leave unsullied. I always think that dunking will be nice, but then hate the soggy crumbs in the bottom of the tea or coffee. And I’d never think of dunking a bourbon or jammy dodger – anything with cream in should stay well away from hot drinks!
9. Best project you’ve worked on at Norfolk?
Anne – The next one! Anything new or bright or shiny.
Chris – An interesting project to work on was engaging with the local gypsy Roma community to establish their views on education. We had a number of face-to-face meetings and then followed this up with a consultation on Citizen Space for school staff.
I’ve also been involved in a project to get children and young people engaged in decision making.
Cressy – My role includes training and supporting people in other departments to write surveys and promote best practice. We’ve just finished creating an online learning course to help people across Norfolk CC to write better questionnaires and consultations. We commissioned an e-learning provider to help and should be able to start sending this out before Christmas.
10. You’re in the middle of your budget consultations – tell us what you’ve been doing differently?
Anne – Our starting point has been that people need to understand the budget. People need to be fully engaged, and the more we can do to educate people, the better.
We have essentially broken the budget consultation into two phases:
Phase 1 has been Informative – sharing the challenges the council faces.
Phase 2 has been Deliberative – the public making decisions and voicing their thoughts on that information.
We used Budget Simulator during this first phase to share the challenges and decisions we have to make, so that people have then been prepared to answer the full proposals in our Citizen Space consultation.
Chris – We’ve done some face-to-face Participatory Budgeting to increase budget literacy with residents. We set up a stand at the Norfolk Show and had people make pie charts with their thoughts on how much each council department spends.
Only 2 people got it almost right, but it started people talking about and understanding the figures involved.
Cressy – The budget consultation this year has been an opportunity to really test the system and put some cross-departmental processes in place.
Our team is putting the responses from all sources through Citizen Space – then these are analysed by a specialist team in our Policy department.
Chris – This is also the first year that we have set up a hashtag and let people respond via Twitter. Our report at the end of this will be on all responses gathered from Budget Simulator, Citizen Space, phone calls, letters, emails and tweets.
The other changes have been in our processes; we have adopted a Scrum Master (Anne) to manage our budget consultation through as a project
11. Where do you think Norfolk will be in 10 years in terms of public consultation/digital democracy?
Anne – The County Council will be smaller due to the changing nature of our relationship with communities. We are shortly to become the ‘Enabling Communities’ team and this reflects that shift. I think the future involves empowering communities by giving the tools to them and supporting them to further democracy. I think we’ll also see democracy on a bigger scale such as through Participatory Budgeting and the use of mobile technology.
Chris –We’ll see an expansion in digital democracy via different formats and means. For this budget consultation we have videos of our councillors delivering messages, and this kind of mix of media will only increase. I also expect to see more mobile use and gamification, with engagement exercises perhaps becoming shorter and more interactive.
Cressy – I’d agree with both Anne and Chris. The future looks community-based with the County Council providing the support and guidance to empower local people to run their own engagement. I think we’ll see more digital platforms being created and developed in the next 10 years that will play a big part in how we consult.
We’d like to say a big thanks to the team at Norfolk who gave up a lunchbreak and more to speak with us whilst in the depths of a major budget consultation. It’s interesting to see a council using Agile project management processes to progress and manage a budget consultation, as we use the same techniques for our software development. The real life stories that inspire public engagement, such as Chris’ project with the local Roma community, are the things that make our office very happy indeed.
George’s Ideas Lab is an innovative Dialogue App launched in Bristol and showcases how mayor-led engagement can develop fresh ideas for a city. Witnessing it’s success over the past few months got me thinking; how has Dialogue App been used globally by our customers in 2013?
1) Consultation at street level – King County, WA, US
3) Consultation within the Welsh valleys- Wales, UK
After a successful first round of engagement, the Vattenfall’s Power in the Valleys team are now entering their second round of consultation. Their Dialogue App is being used to ask what local residents think should be done with the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project Community Fund, this time focusing on targeted issues starting with improving community health.
4) Consultation across England’s Forests – England, UK
From determining what topics should be covered at an upcoming event to brainstorming the next enhancement to a software release, the Global WebSphere Community Ideation is aimed at driving collective innovation across the web community.
Dialogue App can be used for a broad range of consultations, but there is a prominent theme throughout these examples: engaging topics which inspire participants to generate ideas and to work together to refine them.
Our customers have once again been working hard this week to consult online using our awesome suite of apps. Here’s 5 nice examples of consultations our customers have been running which have caught our eye this week;
Transport for London have a fantastic grasp and eye for adding images to consultations to make them more visually engaging. Their consultation on the redevelopment of 10 King William Street is no exception, with the inclusion of images to show the proposed new design. Online engagement is supplemented by the opportunity to attend ‘drop-in’ sessions to discuss the proposals.
2) LBHF’s consultation on the proposal to introduce a new farmers market to a local park.
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham are consulting on the possible introduction of a Farmers Market in Ravenscourt Park. The consultation includes an image of a farmers market and fact banks explaining further information on farmers markets to inform respondents.
The Forestry Commission are consulting on feedback following their learning and activity events to inform their future improvement. The Forestry Commission have also just begun consulting on Visitor Facilities at Birchden Woods using their Dialogue App.
Our Citizen Space customers regularly consult on local parks and recreational facilities, often receiving sound feedback and local interest. Dublin’s park consultation is no exception asking for feedback from local resident on what is important to them.
Using rich media and embedded consultation documents, Clackmannanshire Council have set out the Council’s proposed vision for future development in Clackmannanshire. The use of embedded documents within the consultation ensures that respondents have the appropriate context right next to the question, helping them produce an informed response.
We’ve been putting some thought into how we can deliver the best possible training; training that meets the needs of all Delib’s users from the outset of setting up Citizen Space, through to the evolution of the way you may choose to use the app in the future.
We’ve made some changes and they are all down to your feedback.
When it comes to training in a group, there are a number of factors that can affect the session:
Differing levels of ability
Different learning styles
Time constraints on attendees
Equipment and space available
Current or planned use of the application…and many more
With this in mind we created a “Delib Training Feedback Consultation” on Citizen Space to get some idea of what we could do to create as many happy trainees as possible. Thanks to the 72 responses received so far (and some lovely positive and constructive feedback), we have developed 3 new training courses.
We’ll start by looking at the feedback we received using a tried and tested format…
We Asked, You Said, We Did
Content of Training
How did you find theamount of content covered and speed of the training?
83% said the contentcovered was just right, whereas 65% said the speed of the training was spot on.
We thought this wassomething we wanted to work on, as our aim is to utilise everyone’s time as effectively as we can. This is why we’ve developed a new pre-training survey and the three courses – to understand who we’ll be training and what to train on.
Did we provide adequatesupport materials?
73% said yes and about 25%said we could provide more.
A re-vamp of our supporting hand-outs.
We have now createddedicated supporting information for each of our courses with plenty of hands-on examples to work through.
Future training andrecommendations
Would you be interested infuture training and would you recommend us to other organisations?
98.5% of respondents said they would be likely to recommend us elsewhere and 77% would either definitely or potentially like further training.
We carefully analysed allthe additional comments that were made in response to the future training question and saw some common requests for additional analysis training, social media training, improving online participation – things that fall under the umbrella of ‘making theapplication work for you’ but are perhaps more advanced than is needed for users just starting out – that’s why we have added the Advanced Consultation Design course to our offering.
We have recently been asked by a couple of customers to help them become Centres of Excellence for consulting. It’s this kind of forward thinking that we love and we’re only too keen to build a training programme to help organisations meet that goal. And now…
The 3 New Courses
Managing Citizen Space
This is for you: If you are setting up and administering the use of Citizen Space across your organisation.
We train you on how to run consultations in Citizen Space, create a plan to roll out best-practice consulting across your organisation and get you fully ready to begin effective consulting.
Running Consultations in Citizen Space
This is for you: If you want to build brilliant consultations
We work with all the features of Citizen Space in a hands-on session to fully enable you to create, analyse and promote effective consultations.
Advanced Consultation Design
This is for you: If you want to become an expert in online consultation
A one day course focusing on creating more advanced and effective consultations, including more detail on planning, design, analysis and promotion. Designed for those already comfortable with Citizen Space.
So, your Citizen Space consultation is closed and the results are in and analysed, but what can you do to share the results and outcomes?
Why Share Outcomes?
Most respondents who take part in a consultation want to know that their time is being valued. One of the best ways to ensure that these individuals both want to take part in your consultations and will keep coming back in the future is by publishing the outcomes of the consultation when it has finished. This way you can ensure that your constituents know that you are listening to them.
When respondents know that their participation is being taken seriously they are more likely to get involved in future consultations, as well as encouraging friends and family to take part. They will feel that their individual response has been valued, and, in turn, they will enter into the whole process with a more open and serious attitude.
We Asked, You Said, We Did
One of the features of Citizen Space is the WAYSWD section. This allows you to feed back once the consultation is complete, and lots of our Citizen Space customers use it to good effect. It allows you to quickly remind those who took part what the consultation was about, summarise the general feelings of respondents, and explain what has been done as a result of the consultation.
Many of our customers are already using this feature to keep respondents abreast of what has been done as a result of their feedback. For good examples of how organisations are already using the feature, see the following:
We Asked, You Said, We Did is great for giving respondents a simple update, but sometimes a more detailed review of the results and outcomes may be required. If you have run a controversial consultation, or one that has involved large numbers of respondents, you might want to give a more detailed report of what was said, and what has and will be done as a result. A number of our customers offer detailed reports after their consultations, and these three are great examples of the different ways in which you can approach a report:
Reports can range from 5 pages to over 100, and vary in style and substance. Some are very data heavy, publishing large amounts of data that the reader can interpret as they wish. Others are very text heavy, having already extrapolated the data, summarising it and making it more accessible. They vary from very stylised to very functional, very complex to very simple. There are no hard and fast rules for what a report should look like.
One thing is certain: publishing a report doesn’t have to be as excessively arduous or time-consuming as it may, at first, seem. There are plenty of things you can do to make your life easier when you’re trying to break down responses. The “Request Summary Report” feature in Citizen Space allows you to quickly overview the questions you asked and turns qualitative responses into useful graphs and charts. You can also export all of the responses from a consultation in .CSV format, which can be opened in a number of different programs including Microsoft Excel and Google Drive.
Consultation reports do not just benefit stakeholders; they can also help you to reflect on what you are going to do as a result of their participation. The process of writing a report encourages you to consider how the consultation has (or, in some cases) has not changed a policy decision, and how best to tell your stakeholders and constituents what part they have played. Ultimately consultations are all about engagement, and publishing your outcomes can keep stakeholders, voters, and other members of the public involved in the decision-making process.
For more on why consultation analysis is important and why prior planning is key to a good consultation, see Ben’s article on the Democratic Society’s Open Policy Making website.
A couple of interesting stories caught my eye today relating to the use of social media in the public sector, which I thought I’d share:
How Local Authorities in England Are Using Social Media
Dean Spurrell from Ashford Borough Council has shared some interesting insight into how local authorities in England are using social media. In terms of uptake, 96% of the 78 local authorities he surveyed are currently using social media with the remaining few who aren’t planning to do so next year.
Although these are promising statistics, he argues there’s room for improvement in how the local authorities are actually using their social media accounts. Although the majority (two thirds) use it for a mix of one-way and two-way communications, 15% of local authorities were only using it for one-way communications and thus weren’t using their social media presence to fully engage with citizens.
It should come as no surprise that the most popular social media platforms used by the local authorities are Twitter (97.5%) and Facebook (93.2%) but it’s interesting to see that a majority are using YouTube (62.7%) and nearly half are on Flickr (47.5%). It will be interesting to see how many local authorities choose to expand their social media strategies to accommodate the recent exponential growth of Pinterest.
23 Examples of Good Social Media in the Public Sector
Over on Governing People, Dan Slee has put together 23 examples of where the public sector are using social media effectively. The majority of the examples are from the UK, including how Birmingham City Council are streaming their council meetings whilst encouraging comments and feedback on Twitter through the #bcclive hashtag.
This weekend will see the announcement of the names of more than 300 suppliers who have been successfully added to the G-Cloud Framework. In light of this exciting news, the second Tea Camp held yesterday at the National Audit Office focused on progress within the framework, next steps and challenges.
“There is nothing more constant than change”
How will G-Cloud be different from previous ICT overhauls? The answer is, the whole G-Cloud Framework process will be iterative. Instead of procuring something and then closing the heavy procurement doors, the process is looking to be more open to change.
Flexible maybe but alongside the excitement there will also be challenges and benefits:
3 things that excite us about G-Cloud:
1) G-Cloud themselves are enthused. It really feels like the team involved have a genuine interest in the range of services which are being offered as part of the Cloud.
2) Buyers are going to have a choice. Local service providers can hopefully move away from the idea and culture which has developed around it actually costing more to stop using a service than to carry on using a service which is inefficient.
3) The assurance process will hopefully be made more simpler. Accreditation will take into account the need for Pan-Government Accreditation. There is a real drive to accredit once and accredit well.
Challenges presented by the Cloud and the G-Cloud framework:
One of the most interesting affects of the G-Cloud will be whether or not the culture change which is clearly happening within central government filters down and through to local government. One of the speakers at Tea Camp yesterday was a G-Cloud foundation partner from Warwickshire County Council who discussed some interesting challenges they have encountered :
1) Service mapping and forward planning. Some Authorities are looking ahead at costs for 2-3 years and then making a conscious decision based on a range of factors including cost.
2) How to integrate new and existing systems. Challenges presented here include data migration and centralisation.
3) Co-existence and running multiple systems at once within this transition phase. Running calenders at the same time for example, often presents a particular challenge.
3 benefits of G-Cloud and adopting Cloud based services for the buyers:
1) People adapt to the interface very quickly which reduces the overhead and training on support. For those who don’t adapt so seamlessly, identifying skills gaps can help to ease this. Identifying change advocates who can push this forward is also key.
2) Cloud based working also introduces more flexible methods of working. Corporate mail can be increasingly sent from tablets and smart phones for example. A recent report found that Public sector departments are increasingly happy for their employees to access their work emails from their own devices.
3) There is a real potential for a business shift and velocity change within departments. The role of ICT teams will still be valid but their influence and direction will need to change.
G-Cloud is truly exciting and although some challenges will clearly be presented, the potential benefits and change which will hopefully come with a culture change away from complicated and costly ICT systems is something which is long overdue.
Public sector social media policies have been a regular feature on Twitter recently. It’s increasingly understood that organisations need to do a great job at engaging people in social channels, but that doesn’t always fit easily with available skills and attitudes to risk.
Here’s a roundup of coverage on social media policies from around the web, including some practical solutions.
I enjoyed this Twitter comment from @StephenHilton, which takes a more forthright attitude to the issue 🙂
Meanwhile, although talking about something else, @redsquirrel on Twitter reminded me of the adage
“Forgiveness over permission. It’s not a golden hammer, but it’s one of my favorites.” – but perhaps that’s harder to do in the public sector?
Finally, social media policies aren’t something we get involved in here at Delib (although if you need advice and tools for consultation, participation and crowdsourcing, we’re good for that).
However we do strongly advocate that public sector providers engage with people this way, and we’d happily recommend Dave Briggs and/or Steph Gray as great guides to both the pitfalls and positives of social media.