In May 2014, Melton Borough Council switched from their previous online planning consultation system to Citizen Space. Having had a bit of time to assess things, we asked them how they found the transition:

1. How did you find the experience of transferring from your previous consultation platform to Citizen Space?
Due to a natural break in work, moving away from a Core Strategy and into a new Local Plan, it was possible for the transfer to take place with no disruption to service. It also served us well, as the transfer signalled that our work was changing direction.

2. How would you rate the advice and support that Delib provides? (including training)
Excellent: initial training was super but follow-up support was even better. Any issues or queries were resolved quickly and efficiently; the team were always on hand during our busy consultation windows to offer advice and support, no matter the enquiry.

3. Has there been any public comment about using Citizen Space, particularly in comparison to any of your previous consultation platforms?
Public comments have been that the system is much more user-friendly and people prefer it to the previous software, which required them to set up an account and log in. We’ve received extra special thanks to the saving response function, as people commit a lot of time and effort into preparing their responses and when they lose them it can cause a lot upset and frustration, however the system is able to recover lost comments and people are emailed a direct link taking them back to their representation. It’s also saved officer time dealing with enquiries.

4. Do you think more planning teams should transition to a modern, clean approach to Local Plan online consultation? (removing logins, better design, easier interface etc )
Yes and why haven’t you already?! A huge challenge facing Local Authorities is getting people to comment on consultations; having this system will help you achieve better, more rounded consultation.

Responses from Samantha Brooman, Planning Policy Officer, Melton Borough Council