England

How can Hounslow Council consult and engage residents in radically different ways?

Hounslow Council Citizens' Jury
A view of Hounslow High Street
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Hounslow Council

Hounslow Council wants to make sure that all its residents, community organisations, businesses and partners have a say in shaping the council’s decisions on the issues that matter to them. They have asked Involve to run a Citizens’ Jury made up of Hounslow residents to consider the important question:

How can Hounslow Council consult and engage residents in radically different ways?

Current resident engagement varies widely across council departments. Some residents engage deeply with the council, attending area forums and responding to formal consultations. Other voices have been less heard, meaning that the council has missed out on hearing the diversity of views of residents in the Borough of Hounslow, which can affect the ability to make good policy and decisions for the benefit of all. 

The Citizens’ Jury is part of Hounslow Council’s Radical Overhaul of Consultation and Engagement programme, working to achieve the council’s vision for engagement  –  that “Every resident, business, partner and community organisation should be aware of and able to shape decisions about the issues which matter to them.”  It is a fundamental review of how Hounslow consults with and engages residents in decision making across the council, as part of its ‘Ambitious for Hounslow’ corporate plan.

The intention is for Hounslow Council to listen to and hear a greater diversity of ideas and experiences, which will in turn improve the way the council makes decisions and provide greater accountability to residents. 

Our Involvement

As the UK’s leading public participation charity, ​Involve has been brought in to support Hounslow Council to deliver their Citizens Jury.

Involve has a strong track record in delivering Citizen Juries on a range of topics. Some examples include:

  • Our work with Camden Council

    • The Camden’s Residents’ Panels on Data co-developed Camden’s Data Charter through two Citizens’ Jury processes, establishing seven principles for how Camden Council collect, process and share data ethically. 

    • The Camden Climate Action Panel is a long term panel, providing Camden Council with advice on their Climate Action Plan and barriers and solutions to climate projects.

  • Citizens' Jury on Car Dependency in Belfast - in partnership with Queen's University Belfast, brought together a sample of the Belfast population, to deliberate on and identify six priority interventions to address car dependency in Belfast.

  • The Jersey Citizens’ Jury on Assisted Dying considered ‘Should assisted dying be permitted in Jersey and, if so, under what circumstances?’ The Jury recommended assisted dying should be permitted in specific circumstances, leading to The Jersey States Assembly passing that assisted dying should be permitted in principle.

Our role in the Hounslow Council Citizens’ Jury is to support the council to recruit and onboard a diverse range of Hounslow residents to participate in the Citizens’ Jury, as well as designing the Jury session content and delivering the events.

Juror Recruitment 

The Jury consists of 15 Hounslow residents. This size of mini-public enables broad population level representation, whilst being small enough to foster an atmosphere where Jurors feel safe to participate. Invitations to participate were sent to a wide cross section of households receiving new updates from Hounslow. We then randomly selected 15 people to join the Jury, making sure that our sample broadly reflects the diversity of Hounslow’s population.

All Jurors will be offered £90 as a thank you for their time and we will cover reasonable expenses to attend the events.

Jury Methodology

The Jury will take place over two weekday evenings in January, across locations in Hounslow Central and West Hounslow. Jurors will hear from a wide range of expert speakers on how communities have been brought into council decision-making elsewhere. They will explore in small groups, and plenary, the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches, considering the following subquestions:

  1. How much should the council pass on power to residents, and on which topics?
  2. What would make residents want to engage more with the council?
  3. What should the council take into account when consulting and engaging residents in radically different ways?

Jurors will then create a set of recommendations for the council, which will inform radical changes in how Hounslow Council consults and engages residents to ensure all voices are heard and shape decisions about the issues which matter to them. All of our Citizens’ Juries deliver recommendations, as we have found that they lead to increased engagement, and behaviour change in participants.

What's next?

We will provide a final written report on the Citizens’ Jury by the end of January, detailing the Jury’s deliberations and conclusions. This will feed into decision-making on how the council should overhaul its consultation and engagement. It will also provide recommendations on how the methodology of a Citizens’ Jury  and other forms of participatory democracy could be used by the council in future consultation and engagement.

 

If you have any questions on the Hounslow Citizens’ Jury you can find our Frequently Asked Questions on our recruitment page. You can also contact us via:

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 0747 747 4523