‘Big Conversation’ launched as less than one third of residents believe Wakefield Council considers their views

Less than a third of Wakefield Council residents feel the local authority takes their views into account when making decisions, according to a report.

By Tony Gardner
Monday, 13th June 2022, 12:33 pm

The figures are revealed as the Council plans to launch a 'Big Conversation' programme designed to connect better with communities.

The programme will involved speaking to 1,200 residents by the end of August this year in a bid to find out what issues matter the most to them.

A report to the Wakefield Council's Cabinet states: "The Wakefield Council Reputation Tracker in July 2021 showed that less than a third of residents (31%) feel the council takes into account their views when making decisions.

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Less than a third of Wakefield Council residents feel the local authority takes their views into account when making decisions, according to a report.

"There are also low rates of voter turn-out in some wards in the district indicating potential to increase engagement with local democracy."

The Cabinet is being asked to support the delivery of the Big Conversation programme across the Wakefield district and to agree to commit £390,000 to the 2022/23 revenue budget to deliver the ongoing programme.

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The report also states: "The ‘Big Conversation’ is about connecting with residents and communities.

"It is about listening, learning, and understanding what is important to people’s lives, hopes for the future, and how we can get there together.

"The programme will increase participation from our residents and staff which will make our district a better place to live, work, and grow.

"It is the biggest, most ambitious consultation with residents that the council has ever done.

"The Big Conversation itself is just the start of a different way of working with residents.

"It will build an evidence base to inform future policy and ways of working and result in a long-term council programme."

The programme also aims to involve marginalised and vulnerable groups in terms of improved services.

Children and young people are also expected to form a key part of the programme.

A website has been developed so members of the the public will be able to see results of the survey.

The report adds: "A Council that works and engages effectively with residents, business and other local partners will be not only more focused on the priorities and needs of local communities, but also more efficient and cost effective in addressing those issues.

"There are a number of benefits for both residents and the council itself in greater participation.

"This approach builds on some of the excellent work already happening in the council and develops the lessons learnt during COVID about what works."

The Cabinet is expected to consider the report at a meeting on Tuesday June 14.