Capture opinions at public consultations
Industries regulators insist public consultations take place when major changes or developments are being considered. Changes such as land planning can affect schools, hospitals or transport networks. Such changes can have major effects on communities so their opinions are sought after. They are rightly given opportunities to express views. An audience response system is the perfect way to record these views.
According to regulators, active participation of individuals is key to any successful public consultation. An effective consultation should be a platform for all sides to freely air concerns and opinions. It is also helpful for all those concerned that these opinions are measured and recorded.
This is where the use of an audience response system is essential. Meeting organisers can use a system to run real-time polls, and collect feedback from everyone present. Introducing a system to a meeting, means everyone can contribute. Even people who do not feel comfortable speaking, can anonymously leave feedback.
Responses to polls and the feedback collected are automatically saved giving organisers quantifiable data. Responses can be broken down demographically so it is possible to see how different stakeholder groups responded.
Recently Crowd Insight took audience response systems to two public consultations. The first was for a regional water company. They used the system to:
- Gauge the public’s feelings on the service they (and other companies) offer.
- Discover the public’s knowledge of water supply and demand
- Poll the audience about issues faced by water companies
- Test the public’s knowledge on how water is paid for
The introduction of the system made the meeting interactive, allowing all present to contribute and offer their opinions.
The second event was for an NHS hospital in the North of England. The hospital is currently rethinking how to use their resources. There was much to consult the public on and the meeting organisers used the system to:
- How well everyone understood the different proposals.
- Discover which of the proposals are preferred.
- Gain an insight into how local people see as the most important elements of a local hospital
- Feedback for the event
This well attended interactive meeting took place in the local town hall. It gave the public plenty of opportunity to air their views and ask questions. The organisers also had their polling questions answered and went away with a range of quantifiable data and responses to use for their planning.
For furtherinformation on public consultations, visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/consultation-principles-guidance