The London Borough of Lambeth

Autumn 2014-Autumn 2015

The challenge

Vauxhall is undergoing a major transformation as part of the ‘Nine Elms on the Southbank’ program. This includes a new underground station and plans for a radically redesigned public realm around the centre of Vauxhall, along with new shopping facilities for local residents. As the regeneration programme developed, there was growing concern that awareness of the change was too limited, and that misinformation and anger would spread. Many had begun to doubt that the changes to the station and its surrounds would help local people, even though these measures were actually an explicit effort to guarantee the benefits of Nine Elms were shared.

How we approached it

To gain a 360 degree understanding of the community’s perceptions and engagement levels, we conducted a mixture of in door-to-door depth surveys with residents and stakeholder interviews with businesses, head teachers and community groups. This insight included Values Modes psychographic segmentation to understand the underlying motivations.

An innovative engagement plan to respond to the challenges identified. This included piloting a mixture of techniques to drive up engagement levels and awareness of proposed changes whilst building an infrastructure and methodology for sustainable ongoing engagement through a period of unprecedented regeneration.

Following this, deliberative discussions were held with groups of residents from less engaged groups, to allow an informed discussion about the changes to the area. Around 20 residents, recruited from groups with lower levels of engagement, attended each of the three events of this kind which we ran. At each event an initial discussion was used to develop a set of options which were then voted on using handheld voting devices.

What happened

Following on from this, a bespoke community communicators approach was developed, to build a two-way conversation with residents on three social housing estates. To deliver this we recruited 40 connectors – hyper-connected local residents and stakeholders, who had access to large networks of local residents – to act as conduits to disseminate and feedback information. They achieved a further 250 door-to-door conversations. Throughout this work a personalised list of contacts was created, to allow continued direct communications and keep local people in the loop.

Ultimate outputs included:

  • An evidence-based and segmented strategic communications and messaging approach for residents
  • An ongoing engagement framework to build on the initial engagement process
  • A large segmented database of residents to enable this ongoing engagement