There is nothing we love more (gummi bears aside) than collaborative working. This is why our *awesome* consultation hub Citizen Space has no limits on users or departments – our belief is that anyone who is a fan of shared services will appreciate and promote it in their working life.
This conveniently brings me onto shared services and collaboration within Local Government. Each department has its own remit, but fundamentally the prime objective is the same: to offer value for money and to provide a service that will stand up to scrutiny.
Too often, within the realm of consultations, there appears to be a lack of dialogue between departments. Whether you work in the Planning Department or the Communications Department, the overall aim of consulting with the public should be clear; to garner as much interest (and therefore responses) as is humanly possible.
Arguably because of the “Duty to Involve” citizens in the LDF consultation process, Local Government appears to give more weight to Local Development Framework (LDF) consultations. As a result, their Communications Department colleagues must get on board with the Planning Department’s software choice or, more often, select their own consultation software. It doesn’t have to be this way.
All departments can happily co-exist within Citizen Space land. The more users the merrier! But fear not, this is not some haphazard approach – Citizen Space has been robustly tested by Government and industry experts alike.
We appreciate that the LDF is a suite of documents, guiding development within Local Authorities. Producing them can therefore be a time-consuming and challenging matter for Planning Departments as they will frequently wrestle with producing a range of documentation that constitutes the LDF including:
- Core Strategy
- Site Allocations and Development Management
- Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
- Local Development Scheme
- Statement of Community Involvement
- Sustainability Appraisals
That said, planning consultations are seldom user-friendly, hence the low response rates and general apathy that surrounds them.
We are aware that making the user-experience as engaging as possible will increase participation considerably. How can this be achieved in reality? To increase participation and crush apathy in the democratic process, we must make the task of participating in consultations as pleasurable as possible.
We therefore place heavy emphasis on visual stimuli – such as….
This has resulted in more participation from target audiences.
Within this austerity period, increasing pressures on efficiency and cost savings, combined with growing legislative drivers, are encouraging more local authorities to discuss their consultation requirements with us.
So why not get in touch?
We’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to call our make-the-online-engagement-process-better (AKA Citizen Space) team to talk through your requirements.