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3 useful examples of online consultations open right now

People working in government often ask us for examples of how others are running their public consultations/involvement activity online. (For all the ‘best practice’ guidance and training courses in the world, sometimes there’s no substitute for just seeing what other people actually do).

So, in case you’re in that boat, here’s a few interesting real-world examples, from our customers, that are live on the internet right now. (You can also take your pick from 12,500+ examples any time via our Aggregator.)

Police Scotland – Annual Police Plan Survey

Screenshot of Police Scotland's Annual Police Plan survey on Citizen Space

A linear survey on this major strategic plan for a national organisation – ‘a significant opportunity to improve how we serve the public and our communities’.

London Borough of Camden – Be a part of Camden’s future

Screenshot of Camden's Dialogue

The council ‘are committed to making conversations about Camden’s future wider than ever to make sure residents stay involved in the decisions that affect them.’ They’re using Dialogue to invite people’s ideas and comments on what Camden should be like in 2025.

London Borough of Hackney – Hackney Hate Crime Strategy

Screen shot of Hackney's Crime Strategy survey on Citizen Space

Another linear survey on an important issue – the council’s ‘strategy for working with our partners and communities to make sure that Hackney is no place for hate.’ The council want to hear from residents about how their plans could make a difference in their community.


100 years of votes for women

It’s hard to imagine that there was ever a time when women couldn’t vote in the UK, and even harder to believe that it changed only 100 years ago. As a woman, I am hugely grateful to the suffragette movement for fighting and campaigning to allow women in the UK to partake in the democratic process. I feel proud to go to the polling station when an election rolls around and can’t even begin to imagine not being able to have my say at those times.

I hope they realised that future generations of women – me, my friends, co-workers, mother, sister and perhaps one day, daughters – would appreciate their commitment and dedication to a fight that is so easy to take for granted now. Those radical women gave up so much – in some cases, their lives – to ensure that women of the future could exercise the right to vote, and it is important that we recognise, remember and celebrate that.

Of course, equal voting rights is far from the whole story. 100 years on and we’ve got a way to go to achieve equality between men and women, both in the workplace and society as a whole. In many industries, women are still paid less than men for the same work. Within the digital democracy arena, we have things like the #womenintech movement to try to improve the opportunities and representation of women in tech roles. Whether it’s in the world of technology, politics or Hollywood, we still see examples of women being treated as inferior. So our participation in democracy remains vital – at the polling station and beyond.

Seeing as Delib is all about improving democracy, I asked some colleagues and friends of mine for their thoughts on this landmark centenary. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Louise Cato, Delivery Director at Delib

Were it not for these people, society would not be where it is today. They personally sacrificed an awful lot to create significant public progress; they spoke up and broke rules and took action when others would not and our democracy is so much better for it. But it’s also true that 100 years is not that long and I think that’s reflected in the gulf of inequality which still exists. To be a woman, even in 2018, is often to not be treated as an equal. And I want to recognise that we’re talking about women today, but women are not the only marginalised people in society, there are layers and layers of inequality and in some ways in 2018 this feels more obvious than ever. There’s a lot of work to be done to redress many imbalances and I hope to have even half the courage that those people had 100 years ago to do my part today.

Natalie Williams, Account Manager at Delib

I’m conscious that it’s a great privilege to grow up and live in a country where women having the right to head to the ballot box doesn’t even feel like a privilege, it feels normal and right and unimaginable for it to be any other way. And yet it hasn’t always been that way, and is a right still denied to women in some other countries today. I was fortunate to go to a school where we studied both the UK women’s suffrage movement and the American civil rights movement in History lessons, and though I didn’t realise it at the time that education was so valuable as it helped me to better understand and appreciate these hard-won rights that many of us take for granted & sometimes don’t even utilise when we’re given the opportunity.

I often feel frustrated or get down-hearted about the many smaller but no less valid inequalities & general mad stuff still faced by women in the UK. Only today I saw a news article about the female contestants from Love Island being paid less money for appearances than their male co-stars, for no reason other than their gender (god dammit this thing goes deep). But looking at things in a more optimistic light, 100 years is a fairly short timespan in the sweep of history and it’s super encouraging how much has changed for women and been achieved since 1918. I’m optimistic that in the next 100 years we’ll make even more progress towards ensuring that everyone across our society is accorded the same respect, dignity and worth, including hopefully seeing the introduction of equal pay for male and female BBC reporters, reality TV contestants and all other professions besides.

Samuel Mason, Accessories Pattern Cutter at AV Studios London

Working in an environment, surrounded by talented and creative women, where I feel both supported and challenged is a true joy; the idea that these inspiring individuals haven’t always been afforded the same enfranchisement as me is baffling. We work best when we all share and decide the next step together.

Ben Whitnall, Communications Director at Delib

100 years seems like a bizarrely short time ago to think that half of the country’s adult population simply weren’t allowed to vote. I guess there’s some encouragement in the fact that, for a lot of people – just within a few generations – a world of such overt inequality seems unimaginable now. But it’s also a reminder never to get complacent about these things. It’s hardly as if the extension of the vote to (some) women suddenly ‘solved’ the question of a just and inclusive society! There are still all sorts of ways in which the democratic process and the workings of government aren’t open equally to everyone – and that still needs people to strive and fight and call for change.

(I’m always intrigued to think what the things will be that people will look back on 100 years from now and be amazed that we were just blithely perpetuating…)

Jade O’Donoghue, Senior Content Manager at Retail Week

When I was growing up, I never even questioned whether I’d be able to vote or not because it’s obvious: of course I would! But then, a lot of things are obvious, aren’t they? Like that parliament should be representative of the people they make laws for… except it’s not, and the ratio of male to female MPs is still 2 to 1. Or that women should be paid the same wage as men when working in the same roles… except they’re not, and across the UK men are still earning 18.4% more than women.

We still have a way to go to make things fair and the issue is far more complex than I could put into a few words but the one thing I think we can learn in 2018 from the suffragette movement is: it takes a village. It wasn’t just the Emmeline Pankhursts and the Emily Davisons that fought to make this happen. It wasn’t even just the suffragettes. It was the men who fought alongside these women (and remember, only 58% of them could vote before the Representation of People Act was passed) and the other, more peaceful campaigners who had been at it for years before. Everyone needs to get behind the concept of equality because that’s when we really have the power to make change happen. From the Time’s Up movement to the work being done by campaigns like 50:50 Parliament, groups of people are really coming together to fight for what is fair. Together, we can all play a part in shaping the next 100 years… and I think, when our children’s children look back at 2018, the view is going to be very different.

Ludwig Kayser, Consultant at Delib

The Representation of the People Act 1918 was definitely a landmark moment, but actually only enfranchised women over the age of 30 who met minimum property qualifications, and it also abolished property requirements for men. It would take another ten years for the 1928 act of the same name to establish universal suffrage. There are two lessons I think we can learn from this:

  1. Building a fairer world is a long march, and victories (even big ones) are only steps along the way.
  2. Both by definition and in practice, we’re all in it together.

Here’s to the next ten years.

Megan Tonner, Senior Consultant at Delib

Women’s suffrage in the UK, 1918 acted as a catalyst to the rights that I, and my fellow women have today. It’s easy to temporarily forget the superwomen who made that happen (I read earlier they were trained in Jiu Jitsu so they’re just getting cooler and cooler). We do however need to use this celebration as inspiration, to carry on pushing forward for female empowerment.

Xavier Snowman, Academic Outreach & Project Development at Adam Matthew

Aside from it being a major hurdle for women in their fight for equality, I think it’s important to recognise that there’s a long way to go to fight voter suppression. As a Brit living in America, it is clear that around the world there are still obstacles in place that prevent many people from being given a fair chance to vote, which is the foundation of democracy. Here in the US, registration and identification processes are overly complicated and early voting is under attack. I am proud to come from a country where women and men can vote as equals, however it is clear that there are many issues that need addressing, before we can say there is complete equality.

Katherine Rooney, Account Manager at Delib

The 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote is a nice way to see how far women have come. However, it is also a sad reminder of how long it has taken, and how much further we still have to go! May the fight for equality continue.

It’s intriguing, exciting and scary to see what the next 100 years will have in store for equality, democracy and participation. I think I’m fundamentally looking forward with hope – including the hope that people will continue to remember and be inspired by the suffragette movement. And the hope that we can keep taking small, immediate steps to make democracy more accessible, inclusive and fair.

How the City of Austin are involving citizens in budget decisions

For the past two years, Delib has worked with the City of Austin, Texas, to enhance their budget involvement process.

The city is in a fortunate position of having a choice around where spending should be allocated and can even increase spending in some areas if they want to. They wanted to get public input on their budget priorities in order to understand which service areas were most important to citizens and why.

The desire to hear from citizens was nothing new to Austin. In recent years, the budget team have improved on their outreach efforts and increased citizen engagement, but wanted their digital offering to match up to these improvements; they wanted to ensure they had an effective way of getting people involved online.

Austin’s budget team got in touch with Delib and in 2016 started using Budget Simulator as part of what is known as their ‘open engagement’ process; the part of budget involvement where they invite the public to get involved.

For their 2017 open engagement exercise, they produced an introductory video to help generate interest. By sharing it on their social media channels they racked up over 50,000 views and drove significant traffic to their Budget Simulator site. With 1,200 people submitting a response, Budget Simulator gave them a wealth of insight into their citizens’ views and priorities for the city and uptake was vastly improved.

Austin had previously used a very technical online tool, which became an obstacle to participation for many users. They were receiving a lot of comments and negative feedback on the tool itself, rather than getting insightful input from citizens. With people confused about how to use it or what the process for participating actually was, the focus was shifted away from the important decisions at stake.

In contrast, by using Budget Simulator, participants were far more able to engage with the actual content and decisions being made, instead of struggling with poor technology. By providing a response mechanism that was easy and appealing to use, significant barriers to entry were removed and Austin were able to get quality input from citizens.

Austin are using Budget Simulator again this year for a third time, on this occasion focusing on questions around government bonds.

If you’d like to know more, or see Budget Simulator in action, get in touch.

6 things that happened at my first Govcamp

Govcamp is into its 11th year and we were happy to be sponsors again this year. This meant we had two spaces to attend for the day so Louise and I went along to get stuck in. Here are 6 notable things that happened while we were there:

  1. My train was so delayed that I missed the session pitches, but luckily Louise was there on time and is a Govcamp veteran so was able to fill me in (Craig David style) when I arrived. I grabbed a quick coffee and got into the swing of things.
  2. I learnt a bit more about the ‘women in tech’ movement. My first session was on this subject and what is being done in different organisations to ensure that women are empowered and have equal opportunities. I was interested in this, still being fairly new to this industry and having come from a publishing background where two of the directors of the company were female and most of the editorial team was made up of women. It was really encouraging to see a very diverse group in the room and to hear that in most organisations, things are actively being done to ensure women and men have parity in the workplace and that women are well represented in tech roles.
  3. It became clear that people are very passionate about tech and digital not just being in London in the session appropriately named ‘#NotJustLondon’. People from all over the UK were in attendance to tell tales of all the good that is being done in their organisations in Yorkshire, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Manchester, Cardiff and, indeed, Bristol, Delib’s UK office hometown. We discussed how companies need to make it easy for people to be able to apply for jobs and work remotely, or from other offices, so that tech opportunities extend beyond the M25.
  4. There was an excellent lunch. Sometimes at events the lunch can be underwhelming. Not at Govcamp. Triangle sandwiches with loads of different fillings, cartons of apple and orange juice, fresh fruit. Did you even go to a work event if you don’t review the lunch offering afterwards? That’s a rhetorical question.
  5. We talked all things social media. Steph Gray from Helpful Technology wanted to get people’s views on social media at work but also in people’s personal lives, because he wanted some tips for how to deal with it at home with children who are reaching an age where social media could start to take a bit of a hold. It was really interesting to hear about people’s Twitter feeds becoming ‘polluted’ with celebrity news and overt political opinions and how that was affecting their experience/interest in it as a platform. People seemed to think that maybe Twitter was ‘over’. I thought this was a shame because in my experience, your Twitter/Instagram/Facebook feed can always be what you want them to be. If you don’t want to hear about celebrities, don’t follow them! It was also intriguing to hear about people’s experience of social media at work, with some companies being very particular about what their staff are allowed to share and others having slightly painful situations to deal with in their communications roles that involve using Twitter. The general consensus, both at work and in people’s personal lives, was to approach social media with a healthy dose of common sense. 
  6. I had a glimpse into the phenomenon that is Weeknotes! There were a group of people who knew each other from their Twitter and Medium activity around Weeknotes (see, Twitter’s not dead!), a weekly round-up blog post of what people have done with their time. It’s a chance to share triumphs and low-points with people and is a cathartic way of summarising a week’s activity. Support can be found where it may not have been before and a network of people has grown out of it, a self-professed ‘cult’. I am going to start my own (at some point, when I get around to it) since I love to write and am in a new role so want to share what I’m doing with people. Watch this space…

Govcamp provides a great chance for people to meet up and discuss/ponder/chat/vent about all things public sector and digital. For people to come together on a Saturday for the event means that it is a truly passionate bunch of people who just want things to work better. We had a great time and will look forward to next year’s event!

OneTeamGov Wales 2018

Last Monday I had a good reason to hop on a 7am train travelling to Cardiff with Natalie Williams, a superb Delib account manager, who literally just taught me some Manx Gaelic – how useful!  I used to live in Cardiff and I miss it, particularly the local beer ‘Brains’, so any excuse to go back is welcomed (sadly I didn’t manage to fit a pint into my day, however I did inhale some fumes from the brewery on the walk to Cardiff Bay).  

The reason for the early train was to attend the OneTeamGov Wales unconference, a gathering with no set agenda, where people can pitch in and lead seminars, which are more of a discussion than a lecture.  Since I’m only four weeks into the role I had to look up what exactly an unconference is and was pleasantly surprised by the format of the day.  Roughly 100 people showed up at 9am, enjoyed the coffee and healthy selection of pastries before we heard the attendees pitch their ideas and decided which ones we wanted to go to.  

There were 30 talks to choose from throughout the day, all very educational, informative and topical.  I went to five, but I thought I’d talk about two of my favourites.

Policy-making in Wales

Whilst living in Cardiff, I noticed a genuine passion residents had for their local community, so I wondered how this crossed over into the world of government and Welsh policy-making.  This talk was particularly well attended as I noticed many people in Welsh government are keen to improve the way policy-making takes place.  It was apparent there were disagreements as to how policy-making should be and to what extent it should involve the public.  On one side of the fence were people who didn’t feel the public were qualified to make comments on policy digitally, whilst on the other side people felt an online majority public consultation would be far more valuable than an exclusive one.  Arguments would bounce back and forth, such as ‘have you ever read comments on the Daily Mail website?’  Esko from Satori Lab did a great job of leading an interesting discussion, which certainly got into the nitty gritty but concluded on a more positive note, recognising useful current trends such as Policy Lab.  Esko also shared some really interesting info about how other countries involve the public when it comes to policy-making, such as Estonia’s new platform called eCitizen.   


Just after lunch, whilst riding a wave of endorphins thanks to some deep fried chicken strips and sweet chilli sauce, I attended a talk on procrastination.  I almost felt as if I was off to see the headmaster to receive a telling off about how I shouldn’t procrastinate, however I was greeted with quite the opposite.  It was a little like an AA meeting for procrastinators and to save you from suspense, we could mostly agree it was a helpful thing!  However I did learn to not leave everything until the last minute, otherwise I would lose about 10 years of my life due to the effects of stress.  But also to use the right tools for every job, which I couldn’t agree more with.  Consulting online? We have the right tool for you.

To conclude, I really enjoyed the day with OneTeamGov in Wales and I’d recommend checking out their next event near you.  They are creating a movement of discussion and collaboration, across government organisations which seems like a very intelligent thing to do.  You will leave with a full tummy, inspired about democracy and making the world of government a better place. If you want to get in touch with me to hear more about the day, or our online consultation tools, drop me a line

Ration Club – Newspeak House, London, Wed 7 Feb

We’re excited to be returning to Newspeak House’s Ration Club to do a bit more hosting/chef-ing. This time, we’re there on Wed 7 Feb.

Delib founders Andy and Chris cook spaghetti bolognese at Ration Club

Andy and Chris – two of Delib’s founders – hard at work rustling up a spag bol

For those who have never been, Ration Club is a regular Wednesday night fixture at Newspeak House where people from the political/democracy and civic tech community get together to eat and share ideas.

The format is based around a communal supper, where a Newspeak House member cooks a giant spread, with donations encouraged from the attendees.

Oct 2017 Ration Club menu – spaghetti bolognese or spaghetti and aubergine

The mix of people and conversation is always varied – and the event’s open to all, so come along if you’re free! (If you do plan to turn up, please just drop us an email, if only so we can make sure we cook enough food!)

Introducing our newest team member: Nate Lloyd

Delib keeps on growing – both in number of customers and number of staff. The newest member of the team is Nate, joining our UK office as a consultant. As is now standard procedure, he has completed our comprehensive set of taxing questions about bands, bread and, of course, biscuits.

What’s your name and where are you from?

I’m Nate, I recently moved to Bristol from a seaside town called Bournemouth.

Favourite band and/or artist?

Difficult question as I like a lot of very different types of music!  However when I’m in the mood for some HipHop, I’d say my favourite artist would be J.Cole. I’ve been listening to his stuff since I was a kid and recently saw him in Cardiff, it was awesome.

Creature of habit or maverick thinker?

Creature of habit mostly!

You get mysteriously transported to a desert island, with only time to grab a couple of precious things to take with you. What makes the ‘keep’ list?

I’d bring Sam my room mate, we’ve only been sharing a room for about a week in a freezing cold, damp basement, which is going well so I imagine we’d enjoy being on a tropical island instead.  For the two items, I’d bring my Kindle to read all the unfinished books I’ve started and a laptop so I wouldn’t have to starve my Netflix addiction.

Biscuits – dunk or leave unsullied?

Dunk it, unless it’s an Oreo.

Before joining Delib, how did you put bread on the table?

I worked in sales for an independent estate agent in Bournemouth, with some DJ gigs on the side.

Why did you want to join Delib?

I really liked their (‘our’ now, I guess!) views on democracy and participation – how this work (hopefully!) improves communication between the public and local government. 

Any shout outs, comments or other musings?

I’m very happy to be here and excited for what’s ahead!  

Thanks Nate, we’re pleased to have you here! For more musings from Nate or to find out why he wouldn’t dunk an Oreo, catch him on Twitter.

An Australian Secondment Draws to a Close

As her secondment to Australia draws to a close, our UK colleague Rowena Farr recently took some time out to reflect on the innovative consultations our customers are running, professional events in Canberra and just how good Christmas in Aus really is!

Rowena, it has been so fantastic to have you in Australia for the last two months. What brought you over from the UK? 

I’m currently on secondment to Australia for just under 3 months to train our new Account Manager in Canberra, Mick Leahey. I’ve been here for 2 months so far, and was lucky enough to spend Christmas over here too. I was in Sydney for Christmas and then Tasmania early in the new year; both of which I really enjoyed. I’ve been on secondment to the Australian arm of the business before, and always enjoy the opportunity to come and help out where I can.

Have you and Mick had the opportunity to meet any clients while in Australia?

We have indeed had an opportunity to meet customers which has been great! During my first week in Canberra, I ran a training session at ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) which I really enjoyed as the group asked heaps of questions. They were all really engaged, and some of them even wanted to stay on at the end to ask further questions about a couple of their upcoming consultations.

Mick and I have also been out and about to meet customers in Canberra including meeting the Department of Industry about their challenge run using Dialogue on the Digital Economy Strategy. Just before the Christmas break, we met up with the Treasury, Department of the Environment and Energy and the Department of Health. We’ve got another couple of customer meetings in the diary for the next couple of weeks. I really enjoy going out and meeting customers face to face, so I hope we can squeeze in as many meetings as possible whilst I’m here!

I was also fortunate enough to attend a couple of events in my first couple of weeks, including the Design as a Democratic Force event and Open Opportunity Canberra. I also attended the first Canberra Product Tank meet-up one evening which I enjoy attending back in Bristol where I’m usually based. The event was hosted by the Digital Transformation Agency so it was great to see their offices and chat to a couple of the team there.

Are there any Australian consultations you have been able to look at and compare to UK consultations while you have been here?

The Department of Industry were nearing the end of their first couple of challenges using Dialogue which are based on the digital economy. It was great to meet the team and hear about how they had promoted the challenges: they seemed really engaged with ensuring that respondents knew about the challenges and how to access them. I also like the way that they’ve been active at keeping in touch with respondents by popping a message to update respondents on where they are at with analysis: e.g

It’s also been great to see what a couple of our newer customers have been up to since adopting Citizen Space. We’ve got quite a few UK-Australian parallels in terms of departments now so it’s great to see where they are consulting on a similar topic but perhaps taking a totally different approach. Whilst at ABS (the Australian Bureau of Statistics) I was able to chat about my experiences of working with the Office of National Statistics in the UK.

While chatting with our Australian clients, has there been any feedback about the challenges and opportunities they are facing with online consultation?

I really enjoy chatting with Australian clients to hear about their approaches to online engagement and associated challenges. It’s been really nice to catch up with a couple of the customers I have met previously including our contact at the Department of Environment to see where they’re at with online engagement. I’ve noticed more of an appetite to use response publishing and Dialogue than a couple of years ago, which is fantastic to see as it’s indicative of departments being more open and transparent with respondents.

As you head back to the UK at the end of January, what are you most looking forward to with your clients and colleagues over there?

One of my favourite parts of my role is getting out and about to work events and meeting clients face to face. I’m sad to be missing out on the UK Gov Camp and Not Westminster which are both while I’m still in Australia, but am hoping to attend more Delib-related events in the new year.

I’m looking forward to getting back to the UK and chatting with my customers who are currently being looked after by my lovely colleagues Natalie, Katherine and Louise whilst I’m in Australia. I always enjoy our user groups and have been involved in planning them over the past couple of years so always want to make sure they’re a success and leave customers feeling like they want to attend again the next year. We’re looking at adding another location or two to the agenda in 2018 so watch this space for more information on that 😊

Thanks Rowena, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you in Australia and we know the entire team, and especially Mick, have benefited from your knowledge and contagious positivity!

Dialogue – now with notifications!

You asked, Dialogue fans, and we have delivered. We are delighted to announce that email notifications are now here and ready to use in Dialogue.

Thanks to this update, users of Dialogue can get a daily notification delivered straight to their inbox if there has been any new activity on their ideas or comments. The optional notifications include links to any ideas they have submitted or commented on which have had comments added in the past 24 hours.

Screenshot of Dialogue notification email

We’re confident this new feature will further help to engage people and expand participation. The enhanced experience for users means ideas can be better developed and refined without people having to actively remember to check back on their contributions. In a fast-paced and busy world, even the most proactive people may not remember or have the time to keep checking in on their activity. These new ‘push’ notifications help to keep people involved in the conversation.

We thought carefully about the design of this feature and decided on deliberately ‘light-touch’ notifications. We’re only sending one email notification each day to make sure people don’t feel spammed, and also to ensure the thoughtful and productive nature of Dialogue remains intact. The lure of incessant, instant notifications can create an unhealthy dynamic and lead to less constructive exchanges. We have tried to strike the right balance here: keeping conversation flowing without it overflowing or descending into chaos.

Screenshot of Access and Participation Dialogue challenge ideas

We’re really proud of the important, intriguing, eye-opening conversations that public sector organisations have hosted on Dialogue. We hope that notifications will now make it even easier for people to get involved in decisions that affect them.

If you would like more information on Dialogue, or to have this feature enabled, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

Digital Tools for Neighbourhood Planning event

Last week I took an evening train to London, and learnt a little on ‘How Digital Tools can transform Neighbourhood Planning’ at the Urban Centre of Innovation. It was hosted and organised by Neighbourhood Planners.London and Local Trust. Neighbourhood Planners.London, are an organisation formed to support neighbourhood plans in the London area (believe it or not). They support community forums, and planning authorities from the point of starting out to referendum. They came together after noticing a demand from neighbourhood planners for somewhere to network and learn from each other. Anyone with an interest in neighbourhood planning in the capital should use their site for recourses, including a planning map, ‘useful things for getting started’ and successful plans for inspiration.

David King from Local Trust introduced the structure of the session, and led mini workshop groups, including the one I popped into first on community engagement. If you haven’t heard of Local Trust yet, check out how they empower communities; as an investment of the Big Lottery Fund, they support 150 places to make a difference on a local level. Again, their site is a wealth of recourses, as well as news and upcoming events to get involved with. Local Trust will support groups and individuals to develop skills and build on opportunities within communities.

Neighbourhood Planning (introduced by Tony Burton) is a way of giving communities direct power to develop their local visions. Clearly, they couldn’t build a ruddy great big theme park on greenbelt land, but it’s a chance for citizens to make realistic changes based on neighbourhood priorities. A community forum initially get together with an idea, ask the other citizens what they want in the area, and then develop those ideas with community engagement, building the evidence base, and putting the plan into consultation. Once much of the community have agreed, the neighbourhood plan gains the same legal status as a local plan, and can go forward to neighbourhood funding, post referendum.

I did a little introduction to how Delib’s Dialogue could be used successfully in a NP, from the very formative stage of collecting ideas from the community to allocating budget towards the end of the process, while building a conversation. A few other tools were pitched including Placecheck, a ‘way of finding out what a place and its people can tell us’ to be used at the earlier stages of neighbourhood planning, while assessing the area. Know Your Neighbourhood is another online tool to use in the earlier stages of planning, an ‘insight analyst, cartographer and statistician rolled in to one’. Local Trust and Neighbourhood Planners.London are great places to start if you’re keen on considering starting a NP forum in your area, also My Community is a great place to look for funding options, and how to get started!

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