Simplifying community engagement in the planning process

Simplifying community engagement in the planning process

Read our blog or watch our video presentation to learn how you can simplify the community engagement process in planning.

Utilising stakeholder engagement and management software to reach broader audiences and deliver efficiencies 

Engagement with your strategic stakeholders is at the core of refining and endorsing your planning proposal.  

At the forefront of planning the consultation process, is understanding who your stakeholders are and what are the likely perceived or real benefits or impacts to each stakeholder group/segment and ultimately how this feedback will be presented in a meaningful way. 

This article and accompanying presentation briefly take you through how to plan your engagement, what tools you can use and how you can capture and report your data.  

Designing your process 

Before you jump into what methods of engagement you wish to use, it’s critical to take a step back to check you have everything in place to proceed.  

Use our 6-step process to plan your community engagement: 

  1. Business Case – has the business case been solidified, know your pros and cons and any limitations 
  2. Objectives – what are you seeking to achieve with your engagement, how much influence do stakeholders have, how will their feedback be incorporated and any likely key feedback themes 
  3. Identifying Stakeholders – undertaking a thorough desktop review to understand your stakeholder groups, priority levels and likely themes and issues within each group as well as how you can reach them 
  4. Consultation Design – determine the best online and offline tools to collect and structure your feedback, create any supporting materials including multimedia and create your communications and marketing plan so you know how best to reach your different audiences 
  5. Analyse and Report – Structure your consultation to enable you to get the data you need. Utilise online software like Engagement Hub to streamline the reporting process and analyse data as it’s coming in 
  6. Close the loop – go back to your stakeholders with the results of the consultation and how their feedback is being incorporated into the planning proposal 

Managing your stakeholder relationships 

Stakeholder management software can allow you to store, analyse and add feedback at any time across all your stakeholders.  

Segmenting your stakeholders within the software allows you to create relevant groups e.g. business owners, property owners, residents etc and be able to target, capture and analyse data by segment as well as your entire stakeholder database.  

Without software, this can be quite a headache and using a matrix on an excel spreadsheet is fraught with risks. Allow you and your team to have access to leading-edge software that dramatically reduces the administrative burden and provides reports in as little as one click! 

What tools to use to consult? 

Most people are now suffering from survey fatigue, so the design of your consultation process needs to be short, sharp and innovative.  

Capture relevant data through innovative participation tools such as: 

  • Interactive mapping 
  • Interactive imagery 
  • Quick polls 
  • Participatory budgeting  
  • Idea Walls  
  • Video polls 

Display your information easily online with tools such as: 

  • Document Library 
  • Photo Gallery 
  • Video Showcase 
  • Timeline of project 
  • Frequently Asked Questions 
example community engagement in planning process

Example online tools used for community engagement in the planning process

See an example of these tools in action here on an example of a Town Centre Revitalisation consultation. 

Select the right tools to structure your feedback and clearly define what you want your stakeholders to do. Provide a range of information and participation tools to appeal to a wide range of people and alter these as you go through the consultation process and in response to current feedback. For example, most Engagement Hub clients use approximately 10 participation and information tools on each consultation and vary these depending on the lifecycle of the project. 

Analysing your data 

Your consultation process culminates in all the feedback you have received and analysing the divergent views you receive doesn’t need to be a complicated process.  

Engagement Hub software allows you to view and analyse feedback as it’s coming in. Take advantage of our built-in sentiment analysis tool and tag your feedback so you can start to build a picture of your stakeholders’ views during the consultation process.  

With just one click, you can generate a host of reports that you can analyse by segment or a range of other parameters. Download charts, graphs and word clouds to visually demonstrate your feedback and instantly create attractive reports for your team.  

To find out more about how Engagement Hub can streamline and speed up your consultation processes: 

Read more about how simple it is to manage, the benefits, reporting, security and more.

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