Autumn 2014-Winter 2017
Croydon’s Opportunity and Fairness Commission was a borough-wide engagement exercise to develop asset-based policies for the area that would reduce disadvantage and lack of opportunity. The challenge was to build consensus around policies that would make a significant difference in a range of controversial and sensitive areas such as education, town centre redevelopment, housing and homelessness and social isolation.
How we approached it
The Commission was run independent of the council and chaired by the Bishop of Croydon, with 12 commissioners including 4 resident commissioners selected through an application process. To ensure decisions would be ‘bottom-up’ – i.e. supported by residents and informed by experiences and assets across the borough – we focused on engaging with residents through a range of different methods. To ensure that the findings were part of a conversation that residents and stakeholders could be part of, we scheduled the reporting in two phases, first releasing initial draft recommendations for discussion and consultation, which were then refined following structured discussion and submissions. Success was measured through the sign up to the proposed recommendations from leading statutory organisations
In total over 3,000 residents, employees and stakeholders were engaged through the process. Engagement included public meetings, local walkabouts, street stalls, events and visits to local services such as food banks and pupil referral units, and a Young Fairness Commission led by children that reached out to over 300 young people. They developed priorities driven by how people really felt. Key flagship recommendations such as the Good Employer Charter and the Fair BnB to ameliorate homelessness have since received backing and support from the community.