Contributions made during the Engaging Local
Citizens and Service Users in Transforming Local
Services seminar at Oakwood House on 29 April 2010
The following contributions were made at the Seminar and have
been grouped together for ease of reading.
Kent Police information is shared via community safety units. Plans
to give KCC Community Wardens Kent Police mobile devices too.
Registration services being relocated to places which are more
accessible, and 'tell us once' working with partners.
Communities directorate: Working via Migration Service to inform
people about their rights loan sharks etc.
Ward walks in Tunbridge Wells, sixty households, knocking on
people's doors, very local issues, highways, officers and councillors
working together. Bi annual, targeted wards at west and east of
Partnership: Offer buildings to partners - CAB, Adult Ed and also
Local Strategic Partnerships, community partners meetings - local
government, charities/ voluntary sector, DWP.
Average PACT meeting attendance was 7 people, number of
engagements through handheld devices across Kent and Medway so
far is over 50,000!
Working with NHS stop smoking campaign.
We're good at joined up partnership delivery, but not on joined-up
In KCC CMY: Emergency planning work with Kent resilience forum -
essential partnership working.
KCC Graduate team working with later life strategy, feedback
partners, districts and voluntary sector re: later life policy
showcased at an event on 24 June.
PACT process is being redesigned. engagement through mobile
devices and social media, as well as meetings. … what does PACT
stand for? … Depends who you ask - began as Police And
Communities Together. "Police" tended to become "Partners" in
most areas. Local level community engagement on community
safety. Good in some areas, but resource intensive. Less good in
areas where it gets swamped by input from agencies rather than
Libraries County-wide user survey and consultation with younger
people in partnership with district councils - focus also on
Domestic violence 'one stop shop'.
Tell Us Once.
Kent Community Alcohol project - partners include Kent Police,
Trading Standards, local partners, parents and schools to reduce
under-age drinking and health consequences.
Improved partnership working - mapping existing resources. better
quality project. Can be driven by a partnership way of working.
LSP's local authorities and community groups working together
mapping community needs. Develop Local strategic partnerships.
Suggestion to share Yammer more widely than Kent.gov.uk
Yammer is a fantastic way to gather this stuff, but we need to feed
it to people who are not from KCC. How do we do that?
… We are collecting all the info from Yammer and it will be available
on our Engaging Local Citizens & Service Users in Transforming
Local Services Event web pages on kent.gov
Climb out of the silos.
We need to lose the ego over ownership of questions to be asked /
data gained from consultation so that the information and time
works harder for all of us. Some good supporting frameworks to
embed customer involvement (as "service users") such as
"Customer Service Excellence" (Cabinet Office). But not everyone
wants or needs that much discipline in their approach.
Citizen engagement strategy - shared working: local authority,
voluntary sector, agencies, private sector.
Lots of work with partners (e.g. Police, KCC, health, district/borough
councils, young people user groups, etc.)
Develop 'hubs' so ALL agencies know what each other are currently
doing (almost like an audit of what is happening/planned).
County group of 'expert' researchers to translate data
Develop work on transition data.
Need to get better at working together e.g. linking services with
directorates and districts (database), getting people together in one
room to share information.
Corporate and Service plans, asking different services what they
Using districts to gather contacts etc. for joint working.
Kent Highway Services - liaison officers work with Parish councils.
Council Tax - 1 document for police, KCC, districts, etc. - linking to
engaging with census.
Census, KCC working with districts to map where census staff and
community groups are - using Mosaic Origins.
Consultations with Community - timeframes and reporting back
what people say.
Place Survey - distinguishing between KCC and Districts - same
people respond, need to take a more representative sample by
going into the community e.g. face-to-face, asking the people who
don't normally respond.
Roadshows e.g. go as Highway's (not even KCC), linking with
Joint Highways and Adult Social Services project working with Head
of Highways and cabinet member on improving highways for people
with visual impairments. Group had a budget of £50k per year.
Decided on a drop kerb programme. Led to engineers and service
users going out together to determine sites.
Pilot to link birth and deaths registrations via library. In places
without Gateway that contain a library service this could be key.
Joint working with pension service visiting officers.
Inform through joint leaflets to engage.
Working via children in schools to get messages home to parents
about door-step sales.
Active lives (10 year vision) written with public set up adult social
Community Liaison team (KHS) to gather issues of concern.
Countryside Access Forum - CAIP- national Excellence.
Social Innovation Lab for Kent (SILK) - currently looking at housing
for young offenders.
Sure Start Children’s centres
Sustainability/ climate change / recycling. change behaviours - now
have one team (previously two or three separate teams) to tackle
all of the above issues, instead of separated, potentially disjointed
teams, for each different issue.
KEEPING EACH OTHER INFORMED
Even some local authority people involved in "engagement" are
asking "what else is going on?" How do we audit our collective
Our group has already found two examples of people doing similar
things in similar areas, without realising it.
Sharing the results of our consultations and surveys.
People are getting 'over-questionnaired' in certain local areas (for
example - Sheerness, and possibly Thanet). We must think of other
ways. Go where the people are, and communicate in the way, or
with the vehicle/method that they prefer and will respond to.
An aspiration from Table 4 is to develop some practical mechanism
where partners can set down information about their
consultation/engagement, so that all can see what is planned and
perhaps begin to join up future work - as well as share outputs from
Need to avoid information overload, sharing information to avoid
things being replicated and surveys undertaken too often.
Need to use JOINT consultations to avoid people being 'over
Ashford Gateway and Ashford Borough Council linking with Shelter
& CAB to work on housing need and homelessness.
Partnership working - via Gateway(Ashford), linking with Total Place
& customer journey mapping: Moving people to cheaper channels.
Ashford Gateway Plus - KASS Disability consultation last week to
have the service users shape their services and introduce the
change that this will incur on their routine a long time in advance.
How this will effect their lives, family carers, and how we can
introduce this change to each of them in the best possible way.
Gateway as a place to co-ordinate jointly in local communities.
i-exchange project led by the Gateways - cross-linking public sector
websites to provide single point of contact for service users.
Canterbury Civic centre building available for partners to offer point
of service - Gateway by another name.
Canterbury City Council working on social and domestic violence
with community wardens.
Swale partnership working: pilot for empowerment peer review.
Review took place in October. Mix of staff and residents. 80 people
involved in the self assessment. Big message was "too much silo
Maidstone Borough Council - Gateway services bringing together
MBC, KCC, KP, VAM as well as other charity organisations. Grumble
walks in deprived areas of Maidstone Borough. Invites residents to
walk around the areas to discuss good/bad of area, what can be
done. Changes implemented as a result.
Project around anti-social behaviour in Swale, involving a local
Swale - about to embark in the Gateway programme. partnership
working that otherwise wouldn't be working together. Local forums
now being set up to engage the public.
Tonbridge & Malling residents panel, profiled using Mosaic,
Thanet- green waste service use Mosaic profiling for e.g. targeting
Role of school staff in encouraging parents to get more involved.
Extended services set up primary school councils - vocal
participation (table 2).
Kent Children's Trust: representatives meet once a term meeting to
talk about local issues in school. Problems are being addressed with
CFE - Kent Children's Trust. Community of Practice - online forum to
share good practice. Focus groups with vulnerable young people
pooling information together and establishing overlaps and which
other departments could benefit or use the information.
23 local Children's partnerships (soon to be 12). Access to toolkit to
Statutory procedure involving local parents, community and schools
through public consultation. views are taken on, feed in to 6 weeks
consultation and then goes to county council to feed into process.
has worked very successfully - public help to drive decisions.
Kent police aggregates individual views to shape priorities - each
person's view can't be a priority.
Some police officers are also tweeting on the beat.
Key driver behind police engagement is "confidence" - building this
up in communities.
Police officers have readily adopted the new way of working (relates
to DJ's point about staff).
Teleheath and telecare, with GPs and the public. Also some service
users are now running their own support lines to help users having
difficulty with the technology. Involving citizens in this way can
build win-win relationships.
Good point, what ARE we doing to engage communities in our duty
to inform, consult and involve?
Recognising differences in people to improve engagement and
identify channels that people naturally use to communicate.
Why are we so stuck on communities of geography? Communities of
interest are huge, motivated, easy to reach, and real people.
Meaningful engagement needs to be a dialogue.
Collect views using mobile device, and try to collect other
demographic data too. This info is used to inform priority setting
and is published on the website.
There is some good work going on but there's the risk of everyone
inventing the same multi-spoked round object.
Face to face engagement builds relationships with citizens,
promotes greater understanding of local issues, helps establish
sense of place and promotes responsibility (table 1).
Community wardens work in local community - know what is going
on - great local involvement and good opportunities for partners to
access communities on the ground.
Keep persevering with groups that are not engaged and identify
different ways of communicating.
TYPES OF INVOLVEMENT
Some great examples of community engagement reshaping services
(e.g. "You choose" in Libraries. But do some of the best examples
almost become invisible to others when they succeed in becoming
"part of the way we do things around here"?
New policies on website - consultation period and advertised in local
papers, leaflets, magazines and work with Case Kent (voluntary
sector) to engage with partners.
Do we understand people "best" by face to face engagement? Or
are we not recognising the whole range of techniques available to
us? Remember "To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a
Challenge of rationality versus emotion, we and others are
emotional creatures and we need to engage in ways that can
respect this emotion.
Consider the options give to people that are currently offered for
consultation email/ phone/face to face in public and or private.
Technology gives us huge opportunities to inject fresh air into
engagement, but we are traditionally "late adopters"…… Not
necessarily my personal view.
Very good use of Yammer, I felt.… I have to agree, excellent way of
using Yammer, hopefully we will see more of it in the future.
"qwizdom" technology to involve young people. Interactive voting
unit at events, with immediate feedback - no need to wait for a
report! … contact Emma Jenkins - Study Support Coordinator - she
will be able to provide further information.
NHS - PET Unit (Patient Experience Trackers) for older people. PET
unit is an 'instant' computer mini-unit that provides an instant
survey of patients' experiences. Their feedback is instantly recorded
and because it's easy to use (5 simple short questions), patients are
happy to use it. Better accountability, works well as info. feeds back
into how services are run. Changes can be into how service is run,
changes made quickly.
PAC Panels (Police and Communities) with lots of questions from
individuals, issues with staff time, have to be there to answer
Staff toolkit for involvement.
FINDING PEOPLE TO CONSULT WITH
Kent Adult Social Services use service users to help in the
recruitment of staff.
KASS ask people who have complained to get involved (over and
above their complaint), and so do the Police.
Residents Panels, by invitation at the moment.
Working together, identifying the right people to talk to.
Kent Youth County Council members also sit on recruitment panels
for children and young people-related posts.
MOSAIC supports consultation, engagement and service
transformation - MOSAIC builds a rounded picture of demographics,
classifying people through likely behaviour.
The Mosaic project had prompted the setting up of groups linked by
theme and provides support to participants.
Groups seem to spring up and come and go, and keeping track of
this is important so we can engage this groups and forums rather
than creating new ones.
Young inspectors scheme, using vulnerable children and young
people to "inspect" local services.
Message/ meeting needs to be interesting/ engaging for individuals
to get them involved/ engaged. Establish what is important to
people to start dialogue.
Communication and cultural difference is an issue which can cause a
language barrier and some people have a lack of previous
experience or knowledge of public services or being asked for
Engaging with people is generally difficult. a. dialogue is important,
b. relevant issues to those that you are engaging, c. channel
through which these people naturally communicate, d. work
together in partnership to develop relationships with citizens.
Developing user groups to encourage peer support.
Consultation with service users formed focus group lead by public.
Devised strategy, posters, training for professionals in field (Hidden
Group members represented service user groups from across Kent
and built a very effective consultation network.
KASS - Statutory (but anonymous) consultation Patient Experience
Network - same people consulted in various consultations. Working
to work better / smarter together in partnership. Give options of
written/ phone/ assisted input as options to complete the
Older persons forums - youth forums - disability forums.
CED has 12 Community Engagement Managers.
Team of young advisors: involved in restructuring review.
KYCC, heavy on participation; positive imaging.
Keep engagement simple, often too many questions, need to be
more pictorial, use involvement devices, competitions etc.
We worry about the digital divide (rightly) but are we letting those
worries hold us back from investing in the very best digital
experiences we can offer?
Understanding local issues, encouraging community and investing
time and funding in development and cohesion. The community
comes more accountable and proud of their own actions.
FUTURE OF CONSULTATION
We must remember we innovate within a financial envelope. Do we
have unrealistic expectations of payback timescales?
We urgently need the "Amazon" style feedback and review
mechanisms. We are institutionally afraid of this sort of feedback,
particularly when it bites, but it is a seam of gold we need to mine.
Officers and members need to get over the fear barrier "what will
people say!", complaints are a huge opportunity for learning and
Need a fourth word - inform, consult, involve and FEEDBACK. Surely
this is key also?
How to put customer first (which private sector does well) but public
A great session today - it has started the ball rolling with the Age
Concern project and MOSAIC information.
A late thought. For all its power and wonders, I do hope that
MOSAIC doesn't lead us from a "You said....We did...." approach to
one of "We knew what you'd say, so we just went ahead and did it
anyway" ;) … Very true - we must ALWAYS balance what the data
tells us with personal engagement and feedback from customers.
We need to get closer to people's everyday reality and (for
example) involve them in service design including helping us
develop performance measures that are meaningful to the public.
… We also need to analyse our service transaction data. Taking a
broader view - MOSAIC, Engagement, Service data and professional
and personal experience should be considered in the round. It is
about developing new skills but not throwing out all the good work
we already do.
Are we afraid to have "You said but we didn't do" feedback?
… what we should be saying is 'but we didn't do ... because…’
If you would like further information about any of these
contributions, contact mailto:Julia.Spooner@kent.gov.uk