Public to help shape county council policy with formation of new Residents’ Panel - The Rugby Observer

Public to help shape county council policy with formation of new Residents’ Panel

Rugby Editorial 11th Oct, 2020   0

RESIDENTS will help to shape county council policy after a new Residents’ Panel was set up.

Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) Cabinet has approved the establishment of a Residents’ Panel to inform the council’s policy-making in the coming years.

The panel will deliver on the council’s existing commitment, as part of its new Customer Experience Strategy, to increase engagement in local democracy and for residents to be given a forum through which to share their views.

The panel will help shape the policy and priorities in the five year Council Plan and the Covid-19 Recovery Plan.

The panel will engage a sample of residents, with measures in place to ensure this is reflective of the various groups and different voices across the county. It will allow simple survey type questions and also smaller focus group type approaches on complex issues like climate change and tackling inequalities.

The council says the proposed Residents’ Panel will build on its existing ways of engaging residents, adding that the the Covid-19 pandemic has seen this brought into sharper focus with an upsurge in working together with residents, voluntary groups and town and parish councils. The latest statistics indicate a 120 per cent increase in local volunteer activity since March 2020.

WCC leader Coun Izzi Seccombe said: “I am delighted there will be such a comprehensive mechanism to engage residents in everything we do.

“Their views and guidance are essential not only in how we shape future activities so that they meet what residents need and want and but also in making sure that we are performing to their expectations and know if we aren’t.”

WCC customer and transformation spokeswoman Coun Kam Kaur added: “The panel will help us better understand the full range of diverse views from across the county and help us deliver on our ambition to be a data and evidence-driven organisation when we are developing our policies and priorities.”

WCC also plans to establish a second separate panel specifically for public engagement on any future proposals for local government reform, and has invited the county’s district and borough councils to commission this jointly.

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