The London Borough of Southwark is keen to get its residents involved in ongoing decision-making as much as possible. They invest a lot of time and resource to consulting in an effective and inclusive way. For example, in 2017, they ran a broad-scope, ambitious consultation called the Southwark Conversation, seeking the public’s input on change across the whole borough, and what type of future residents imagined for their home. From housing to apprenticeships, nearly 3000 people shared their views.

The consultation team did a huge amount of work ensuring that underrepresented groups got to have a say, talking to hundreds of people face-to-face and in other innovative ways, like over the radio, via telephone and in community meetings. But the largest response rate by far was received online, through Citizen Space.

Designed for any scale

Citizen Space is designed for online consultation activity on any scale. From huge exercises like the Southwark Conversation to smaller, more localised issues like residents’ parking schemes, it enables an organisation to consult in ways that enable openness and accountability to their citizens. It has a range of features that support consultation activity of any kind; for example, the ability to embed related events, documents and supporting information into the overview page of an online consultation. This means, when running non-online consultation activity, the overview page acts as a central hub for all related events and information.

Closing the feedback loop

Southwark Council recognise that a consultation doesn’t end with the survey’s closing date. It’s a continuous process, and feeding back to citizens is an essential component. Not only does it keep citizens informed on what changes will take place, it validates the time the public has invested in sharing their views. Feeding back increases legitimacy and, as a result, trust in public bodies.

Citizen Space is designed with this in mind, so sharing feedback is both simple for the administrator and clear and visible for citizens. One of the features that Southwark uses is ‘We Asked, You Said, We Did’.

This feature provides a simple way to summarise the results of a consultation and what actions were taken in a clear, succinct format. It features very visibly on the consultation hub, with its own tab in the main navigation as well as appearing on the hub landing page underneath open and closed consultations. It means that residents can immediately see the impact that sharing their views had on the outcome without having to search through poorly-designed websites or read through council meeting minutes. With hundreds of examples of ‘We Asked, You Said, We Did’ on Southwark’s consultation hub, residents can feel reassured their responses are valued and are contributing to meaningful change in their home.

If you’d like to learn more about Citizen Space and its features, you can book a free demo and we’ll walk you through it.