Sheffield is a highly diverse city, something in which it takes great pride. It remains a popular destination for immigrants and international students, and these numbers are only increasing.
However, with diversity inevitably come certain levels of inequality. Sheffield County Council is determined to combat this, and puts ideologies of inclusivity and equality at the heart of its policies and decisions. One of the ways it hopes to increase equality city-wide is by making sure residents can share their views and get their voices heard.
They recognise the importance of involving citizens to being a trustworthy and accountable organisation – in fact, actively listening to their citizens is a key component in their corporate plan.
Sheffield County Council also understand that sometimes it’s hard to get the views of underrepresented democraphics, so they’ve taken action to combat this. They’ve set up ‘Equality Hubs’: regular meetings for minorities to meet and discuss issues in their community, facilitated by the Council.
So when it came to choosing an online consultation platform, they knew they needed a tool that would be in line with their values of inclusion, accessibility and equality. Citizen Space was the best choice.
They chose Citizen Space
Since its inception, Citizen Space has had these principles at its heart. It’s fully equipped to enable anybody to participate in a consultation, whatever their demographic. Its simple, easy-read interface and fully responsive design mean that respondents aren’t blocked from having their say by not having access to a computer: it can be used on mobile, desktop and everything in between. It has a ‘kiosk mode’ that enables administrators to take their consultations directly to the public, meaning that even if someone has no access to any internet-connected device they can still have their say online.
It’s also fully WCAG 2.0 compliant, meaning that it conforms to international accessibility standards. It’s optimised for use with screen readers, speech recognition software, and other accessibility tools.
Effective feedback tools
Sheffield City Council recognise that simply asking for residents’ opinions isn’t enough. Sharing post-consultation feedback and next steps is an essential part of any consultation and increases trust that an organisation takes its respondents seriously. Citizen Space includes a feature called ‘We Asked, You Said, We Did’ that enables an organisation to give concise feedback following a consultation that features visibly on the landing page. Citizens can see at a glance the impact that their opinion had on the outcome – and can see the difference they’ve made to their community.