Councillors and committees

Agenda item

Community Engagement Framework

The Committee is requested to provide comments on the proposed framework

Decision:

Resolved that the views of the Neighbourhood Committee are taken into

consideration in shaping the framework for community engagement set out at

Annex 1 of this report. After the consultation concludes the framework will be

published on the Council’s website.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report which sought the Neighbourhood Committee’s views on a proposed Community Engagement Framework for the Council prior to it being adopted.

 

The Council is clear about its ambition to improve community engagement.  This will require culture change across the whole Council.  To help achieve this, there is a need for clarity about what is meant by community engagement.  The framework provides opportunities to increase community engagement and involvement in decision-making through a clear, consistent commitment and approach, and by which the council can be held to account.  Over the past 12 months there have been some good examples of successful community engagement and there have been other examples where we can learn and develop our approach.  The purpose of the framework is to articulate our vision and approach to community engagement more clearly - as stated in the LGA corporate peer review.  The framework sets out an approach against which we can be judged and provides consistency in approach and vision.

 

The Council is looking to articulate a clear approach to community engagement.  It aims to:

·         increase the scope of community engagement to help ensure everyone has a voice, especially people from whom we seldom hear

·         outline a clearly articulated approach

·         ensure we co-ordinate community engagement and consultation so people have time and space to have a say on what matters to them

·         encourage better decision-making and problem-solving by hearing more ideas and voices earlier in the process.

 

Through an agreed approach the Council will:

·         increase and strengthen the role of communities in how we live, work and study in Kingston

·         involve more people in the democratic process and enable communities to influence decisions in a range of ways

·         support communities to take action by helping them identify needs and support them to develop their own solutions.

 

The current consultation runs until 30 September and the framework with any amendments responding to feedback during the consultation, will be published on the Council’s website.

 

The Assistant Director for Culture, Communities and Engagement outlined the key factors including:

 

·         The Council places a high priority on community engagement as shown in recent initiatives and plans, for example the community grants programme, the State of the Borough debate, Citizens’ Assembly, and neighbourhood forums.

·         The Council, however, wishes to increase the scope of who we hear from, and engage much earlier in the process, and strengthen the relationship with groups in the community.

·         Our approach has been and will always be: Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate and Power.

 

During the discussion, it was clarified that the Council will not necessary have to go through all the stages of community engagement with every engagement with the public -

it will depend on the individual requirements of the project. 

 

·         Engagement with young people  (in a meaningful way) should be a key objective for this framework, as should accessibility to the Council for all in the community, including those with disabilities

·         The engagement framework could benefit from lively presentation to engage the reader with different ways of communicating the information, for example, with pictures, diagrams and maps

·         Facilities on the Council’s website could be improved to make contributing to consultations easier

·         Key Performance Indicators will be provided to set targets for success and measure performance

 

Resolved that the views of the Neighbourhood Committee as summarised above are taken into consideration in shaping the framework for community engagement (set out at in Annex 1of the report).

 

Voting - unanimous

Supporting documents: