Working with residents to develop a strategic approach to participation

I’m working with my team to develop a strategic approach to participation, building on our existing strategy work and specifically on citizens assemblies and community assemblies — which I’ve blogged about here and there, as well as developing participation cohorts.

We’re inviting residents to shape this strategic approach, starting with understanding their experiences of participation

1. How do residents want to take part in participation opportunities

Identifying differences between different demographic groups can help us understand who we might be missing when we use different methods

  • People aged 35–44 years were more likely to want to participate through an app (46%) and those aged 65 and over were less likely to want to use an app (15%)
  • Under 35s were more likely to want to participate through telephone calls (33%) and those aged 35–44 years were less likely to (7%)
  • Asian respondents were more likely to want to participate through an app (50%) and less likely to want to participate through in-person events (27%) and in one-off events (18%)
  • Black respondents were more likely to want to participate through in-person events (81%)
  • Residents who didn’t disclose their ethnicity were less likely to want to take part in online questionnaires (54%) and online meetings (42%)
  • White respondents were more likely to want to take part in online questionnaires (82%) and online events (68%), and in one-off events (54%)

2. What should we improve in how we involve residents?

We worked with residents to identify key priorities in how best to support participation with residents.

  • Residents want to know how to get involved (90% see this as a priority)
  • Residents who have participated want to know how their contribution is used and how decisions are made (81% see this as a priority)
  • Residents and communities are developing solutions to issues themselves, and want the council to better work with and support them (81% see this as a priority)
  • Residents want to be involved throughout the process, not just at specific points (80% see this as a priority). Residents over 65 see this as more of a priority (96%) as do residents who have a disability (96%). Residents aged 35–44 years see it as less of a problem (66%)
  • We need to better consider the different needs and skills residents have for participation (80% see this as a priority)
  • We need to be more consistent in how we involve and support residents to participate (77% see this as a problem). Residents over 65 see this as more of a problem (93%)

3. What do residents want to work with the council to improve?

We want to understand what issues residents want to help work with us to improve how we support participation.

This reflects the feedback we got from our Citizens’ Assembly who want us to prioritise

  • Acting on their recommendations and showing the difference the Assembly has made
  • Topics for the assembly and what is feasible must be clear, and one where the Assembly can make a difference
  • Ensuring that assemblies are diverse and involve everyone
  • Facilitation is key to making sure the Assemblies work well

As a result of the assembly, assembly members…

  • Felt heard, with greater dialogue between residents and the council
  • Felt more involved in their local area, with a greater sense of community

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noelito

Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese