Considerations

Introduction

The Engagement Strategy, Engaging Devon, will assist Devon County Council to successfully deliver its priorities set out in the overall strategy ‘Backing Devon’. The following pages will provide background to some of the considerations needed in carrying out consultation and engagement. This is not an exhaustive guide, it will assist staff and other participants to implement cost effective and appropriate engagement for Council activities, whilst maintaining professional and ethical standards.

‘Engaging Devon’ sets out the strategy for delivering effective engagement in Devon, helping people to help themselves, through permanent democratic forms. This guidance introduces engagement and consultation for Devon County Council activities. Engagement is essential to identify local needs, inform effective customer led value for money services, and working smarter.

Understanding engagement needs, aims, and outcomes

Where decisions are being made around services or activities of the Council that affect the lives of people who live or work in Devon, the level of engagement required must be considered. Those affected, and interested parties, should be given the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process.

Effective planning from the very start is essential to ensure that engagement is carried out to the appropriate standard, is reasonable and proportionate, and meets needs. Before planning any engagement type activity, the overall aims and desired outcomes need to be considered. An Impact Assessment should also be carried out, and this used to inform who to engage.

If working for Devon County Council, the Communications Engagement team need to know about your intent to engage in order that initial advice and expertise on how best to proceed can be provided. Larger significant or sensitive engagement activity will be considered by the Council’s Group and Service Area Engagement Leads, who will ensure the Council’s requirements are met.

Before starting any engagement activity, you need to set out the aims clearly. Consider why you are carrying out an engagement and consultation exercise, and what level of engagement is reasonable and proportionate. Before you start, you will need to initially consider:

  • What decision is being considered?
  • What level of influence do participants and the Council have on the decisions?
  • What level of engagement is needed, what is reasonable and proportionate?
  • Who needs to be engaged, consulted, and informed?
  • When do you need to engage to be timely and allow for proper consideration and informed responses?
  • Are other similar engagements taking place, or have taken place recently?
  • How are outcomes going to be monitored, linked to the engagement activity, and communicated?
  • What are the overall costs, and budgets available for the task?

Contacting Us

If you would like to discuss Devon County Council consultation and engagement activity with us, or have comments for improving further this guidance, then please email the Communications Team:

email: communications@devon.gov.uk

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