Summer, Autumn and Winter 2016
Local Government has higher trust than many national institutions. But in a climate with new challenges, there was a growing need for strong, accessible guidance around engagement and consultation. This was particularly true at a time of falling budgets, rising expectations, cohesion issues, regeneration programmes, and types of scrutiny which range from social media to Judicial Review. TCC was commissioned to pilot innovative new engagement across four councils, bringing findings together into a ‘New Conversations’ guide for those working across local government.
How we approached it
Working for a sustained period with four very different councils – Hackney, Harlow, GMCA and Staffordshire – we piloted new types of engagement. This included social networks-led community engagement on policing, as well as other pilots which involved culture change, policing, place-leadership and the communication of devolution. We simultaneously carried out extensive desk research, working with The Consultation Institute. This fed into the final guide, which included seven ‘Foundations’ of good consultation, and a further eleven ‘Pillars’ for more sophisticated and long-term types of engagement.
The final product was a large, interactive guide. It was designed in such a way that people could navigate their own journey through it, depending on the particular requirements of their role. It can be viewed here. The four pilots, meanwhile – Hackney, Harlow, GMCA and Staffordshire – each produced a bespoke resource or tool following their engagement work with TCC. You can view them all here. The project culminated in a large-scale New Conversations launch event in London, attended by 80 people working on the front line of local government engagement. A northern launch was also planned, with the aim of establishing the legacy of the project as much as possible.