Worcester City Council launches review to fight off ‘consultations fatigue’

Worcester News: Worcester City Council has launched the initiative Worcester City Council has launched the initiative

A FRESH initiative to ensure your views help shape Worcester’s future has been launched – amid fears not enough people are engaging with the city council.

A review is taking place into how to get more feedback – and better quality views – from residents about the issues that really matter.

It includes creating an online “consultation calendar” so people can go to one place to find out what the city council wants opinions on, and at what point during the year.

It follows concern people are either not getting involved at all, or do take part in public sector surveys but suffer ‘consultation fatigue’ because there are so many. As well as the city council other bodies like the fire service, police and NHS regularly launch surveys into the public mood before making decisions.

The council’s review of its consultations strategy will take place in January, and was debated during a scrutiny meeting at the Guildhall.

During the most recent summer survey 460 people took part, despite Worcester having 99,000 residents.

Councillor Andy Roberts said: “I get quite bothered about this, really. The way we used to get around it was to pay someone a lot of money and say, ‘You’re the experts, do this for us’, but that method wasn’t satisfactory either. You will always get this sample size which is not sufficient, partly because people aren’t bothered and aren’t engaged.

“We have to remember that when we’re consulting with the public, the public are always paying.

“We’ve said for the last ten years, ‘This is a snapshot’ of people’s views, but we do need to be adult and really point out the limitations.”

During the debate some politicians said many residents feel like their views are not being listened to – while others think they can influence a decision, when in terms of planning applications, often they cannot. Coun Derek Prodger said: “I’ve been involved on the planning committee for decades and there always seems to be this public anxiety that things can happen without the public getting involved.”

Related links

Coun Lucy Hodgson said local politicians often get scapegoated as ‘the big bad wolf’ when difficult decisions are made.

The calendar could include consultations from other bodies, such as the NHS, to avoid people being asked the same questions twice.

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:33pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Hwicce says...

Another farcical waste of money.

We don't "engage" with the City Coucil because they ignore what we say. Simple really.

If they listened to what we wanted there would be a full ring road, Norton P&R railway station, less bus lanes, better traffic management etc etc.

No matter how many times they ask the answers are always going to be the same.
Another farcical waste of money. We don't "engage" with the City Coucil because they ignore what we say. Simple really. If they listened to what we wanted there would be a full ring road, Norton P&R railway station, less bus lanes, better traffic management etc etc. No matter how many times they ask the answers are always going to be the same. Hwicce

3:03pm Tue 10 Dec 13

CJH says...

"Coun Derek Prodger said: “I’ve been involved on the planning committee for decades and there always seems to be this public anxiety that things can happen without the public getting involved.” " Well, if he's been involved for decades and there has been no improvement he is the wrong person for the job obviously.
.
Why do we need a new initiative (and its associated costs) when there is already a review panel (which I contribute to). I think the council will find that the reason people don't get involved is because they have absolutely no confidence that they will be listened to, and their suggestions will be ignored. Hwicce is correct - they only want the answers they've already decided on. This is yet another of those exercises for the 'look what we did, aren't we clever' brigade at the council to put on their cv's.
.
Can someone at the WN find out if any consultants were used in this 'fresh initiative'?
"Coun Derek Prodger said: “I’ve been involved on the planning committee for decades and there always seems to be this public anxiety that things can happen without the public getting involved.” " Well, if he's been involved for decades and there has been no improvement he is the wrong person for the job obviously. . Why do we need a new initiative (and its associated costs) when there is already a review panel (which I contribute to). I think the council will find that the reason people don't get involved is because they have absolutely no confidence that they will be listened to, and their suggestions will be ignored. Hwicce is correct - they only want the answers they've already decided on. This is yet another of those exercises for the 'look what we did, aren't we clever' brigade at the council to put on their cv's. . Can someone at the WN find out if any consultants were used in this 'fresh initiative'? CJH

3:34pm Tue 10 Dec 13

sugarlump says...

South Worcestershire is under attack from developers. The City council - like all other councils in the area - do not help and support us in protecting what we have. They only listen to their political masters. This initiative is a nonsense.
South Worcestershire is under attack from developers. The City council - like all other councils in the area - do not help and support us in protecting what we have. They only listen to their political masters. This initiative is a nonsense. sugarlump

5:05pm Tue 10 Dec 13

lilboo says...

We Waste, waste waste, that should be their motto! You can bet your bottom dollar there's a consultant behind this! And what's worse, NOTHING will change because of it, except perhaps a new post of a 'Shaping the Future Officer' who will be paid to ignore people's views! There's a few individuals in that organisation that pulling into shape though, now there's a good place to start!
We Waste, waste waste, that should be their motto! You can bet your bottom dollar there's a consultant behind this! And what's worse, NOTHING will change because of it, except perhaps a new post of a 'Shaping the Future Officer' who will be paid to ignore people's views! There's a few individuals in that organisation that pulling into shape though, now there's a good place to start! lilboo

5:12pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Nortynorse says...

Ah is this the Derek Prodger MBE who advocated the rapid transit system in St Johns, the same Derek Prodger MBE who is now chair of the Fire Authority (Cushy Little Number)for the 2 counties (watch out Firefighters).

This man is an elected LIABILITY, pay no heed to his promises, just like his county colleague JOHN SMITH who has sold his Evesham electorate down the river like the bridge that crosses it.
Ah is this the Derek Prodger MBE who advocated the rapid transit system in St Johns, the same Derek Prodger MBE who is now chair of the Fire Authority (Cushy Little Number)for the 2 counties (watch out Firefighters). This man is an elected LIABILITY, pay no heed to his promises, just like his county colleague JOHN SMITH who has sold his Evesham electorate down the river like the bridge that crosses it. Nortynorse

5:47pm Tue 10 Dec 13

copierman says...

Local Radio should step in here and broadcast a "Yesterday in the Council Chamber" type programme with edited highlights of the debates.
We would all know what was being said by our elected Councillors and engage more.
Local Radio should step in here and broadcast a "Yesterday in the Council Chamber" type programme with edited highlights of the debates. We would all know what was being said by our elected Councillors and engage more. copierman

6:42pm Tue 10 Dec 13

grumpy woman says...

Consultation? More a case of consult and carry on anyway because we know best. How some of these people are elected is beyond me.
The whole of Worcester is shrieking about the lack of infrastructure and all we get is more houses and more population to put strain on what we do have.
Any attempts at fixing problems are amateur and not fit for purpose. The new plans for the southern link road for one,
I despair.
Consultation? More a case of consult and carry on anyway because we know best. How some of these people are elected is beyond me. The whole of Worcester is shrieking about the lack of infrastructure and all we get is more houses and more population to put strain on what we do have. Any attempts at fixing problems are amateur and not fit for purpose. The new plans for the southern link road for one, I despair. grumpy woman

9:07pm Wed 11 Dec 13

i-cycle says...

Rather than simply assume politicians ignore comments reflected in consultation surely its more important that all of us make the best use of any consultation opportune ivies to express our views.

The same applies at election time. No good complaining about the politicians we have if you can't be bothered to vote in the first place.

Democracy, for all its flaws, is better than any other system of governance that's out there. We need to make sure it is responsive and accountable to what the local electorate want.

With such low turnouts at election time I'm amazed we're so surprised when we assume politicians ignore what the public want for themselves and their local communities.
Rather than simply assume politicians ignore comments reflected in consultation surely its more important that all of us make the best use of any consultation opportune ivies to express our views. The same applies at election time. No good complaining about the politicians we have if you can't be bothered to vote in the first place. Democracy, for all its flaws, is better than any other system of governance that's out there. We need to make sure it is responsive and accountable to what the local electorate want. With such low turnouts at election time I'm amazed we're so surprised when we assume politicians ignore what the public want for themselves and their local communities. i-cycle

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree