To centralise or de-centralise? How Citizen Space supports both methods of working

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:

Both London Borough of Sutton and London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham effectively utilise this method of working. LBHF also effectively run internal training on a regular basis.

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.