Residents to have their say in new community panel

Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet is being recommended to set up a Community Panel to give residents a greater say in how the local authority delivers on its priorities.

It follows a residents’ survey conducted last year to capture views on a variety of topical and relevant issues including their local area, COVID-19 and volunteering. 

Almost 5,500 people completed the survey and the majority of respondents praised the council and its services including a 75% satisfaction rate in the council’s response to the coronavirus pandemic 

Respondents were also asked if they would be interested in an opportunity to have their say on an ongoing basis through a new Community Panel. More than 1,600 people (30% of respondents) expressed an interest. 

The detailed findings of the survey and plans to further increase engagement with residents, including the creation of a Community Panel, will be presented to Telford & Wrekin’s Cabinet when it meets on Thursday 7 January. A report to the Cabinet recommends it approves the proposals for future engagement.

Councillor Paul Watling: “As a Co-operative Council, we are committed to listening to and involving residents in developing our plans to protect, care and invest to create a better Borough. Over the last year, we have increased our engagement with residents, carrying out a wide range of consultations, including a Residents’ Survey that all residents of Telford & Wrekin were invited to take part in. 

“While we are pleased with the findings generally that people like where they live and are pleased with the services provided by the Council, including our response to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is clear from the Residents’ Survey that we need to broaden our approach to engage with a wider cross section of residents, and to focus on areas or groups where the percentage of people who feel able to influence decisions is particularly low.

“To support this, we want to set up a new Community Panel. As well as traditional surveys, panel members will be able to get involved in a range of other ways, including focus groups whether virtual or physical, mystery customer assignments or citizen’s juries, where a small group of residents come together to make recommendations either on a specific topic, such as climate change, or at a locality level.

“More than 1,600 people who completed the Residents’ Survey expressed an interest in joining the Community Panel. We will follow up their expressions of interest and do some additional targeted recruitment to make sure the panel is as representative of the borough’s population as possible.”