New Participation Strategy to enhance public engagement with Council

Cardiff Council has published the results of a comprehensive review into how it engages with the public and ensures their views are taken into account in the decision-making process.

The review, of its Participation Strategy, ties in with the Council’s duty to encourage local people to take part in decision-making and promote awareness of the Council’s principal functions.

Over 11 weeks, between July and October last year, the Council conducted a consultation to gauge the public’s views on how well the Council engaged with them. It sent out an online survey to 5,000 members of the Citizens Panel and made hard copies of it widely available in English, Welsh, Polish, Arabic and Bengali.

It also arranged face-to-face engagements with:

  • Children and Young People
  • Older People
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, and
  • People who identify as disabled.

By the end of the consultation, the Council had received more than 1,300 responses, with a strong consensus (99.2%) that getting involved in shaping the delivery of services was important.

Other findings included:

  • The Council’s website is the main source of information about the Council (80.1%)
  • More than half of respondents did not follow the Council or their local councillors on social media
  • Just over half of respondents (54.9%) knew who their local councillors were
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) felt a ‘Democracy Portal’ would be useful
  • Just over half (50.1%) said that better promotion of opportunities to get involved and share their views with the Council would be beneficial

In direct engagement with more than 200 people from typically under-represented groups, they said a lack of awareness of opportunities, a lack of time and a lack of belief it would make a difference were the biggest barriers to participation.

Following the consultation, the Council is now proposing a number of changes to its Participation Strategy 2023-27, including:

  • More face-to-face engagement with under-represented groups
  • A more targeted approach to engagement, to avoid ‘consultation fatigue’
  • Developing a feedback programme to share findings and outcomes with those who have been consulted
  • Developing a regular programme of engagement with the Deaf community and those who are visually impaired.
  • Using the Council’s existing social media channels to promote opportunities for the public to get involved and share their views with the Council.

Cllr Julie Sangani, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Tackling Poverty, Equality and Public Health and a key advocate of the Participation Strategy, said the results of the survey indicated that the public are keen to become more involved in the decision-making process and engage more with the Council via all available channels.

“The Council has been including the public for many years when discussing policy and all aspects of life in Cardiff,” she added. 

“Promoting civic participation and giving the people a voice in shaping the decisions that affect their lives have always been key priorities for this Council and we remain committed to ensuring we hear not just their views, but also their views on how their opinions are gauged.”

The strategy will be discussed at the Council’s Policy Review and Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting today at 4pm. This will also be available to view as a podcast live, via this link. It will also be discussed by the Council’s Cabinet on Thursday, January 18 at 2pm.

To view the full report, follow this link here .