Some places are already taking steps to engage people in taking decisions and action around Covid.

Here are a few examples that we have come across.

Citizens’ Panel on the Covid Recovery | West Midland Combined Authority

The West Midlands Combined Authority ran a Citizens’ Panel to guide its Covid recovery. The panel consisted of 36 residents from across the region and a range of backgrounds, who met online throughout the summer to learn about the issues facing the region and share experiences of how the pandemic has affected them and their families. The panel agreed six priorities:

  • Getting back to normal, safely – ensuring people can live safely and there is clear guidance as we move out of lockdown and to avoid a second peak.

  • Healthcare – making sure that patients can be treated, avoiding risk of Covid-19, and the healthcare system gets back on track to diagnose and treat people when they need it. It also means promoting healthy living to reduce demand for the NHS in the long-term.

  • Mental Health – specific emphasis on making sure that anyone who needs mental health support knows where to find it and is guided to access support.

  • Education – preparing children to go back to an adapted school environment, ensuring their safety and wellbeing. Making sure that every child is supported to make up for lost time so children from all backgrounds are equally able to achieve their goals.

  • Employment – creating new jobs, with an emphasis on apprenticeships and entry-level jobs. Making sure that additional training is provided to give people the right skill sets to enter the workforce and getting people who have lost their jobs for Covid-related reasons back into work.

  • Promoting and supporting business – especially smaller and/or local businesses and the self-employed for example by encouraging people to buy local. Providing financial and business support to help them get back on their feet and protect jobs.

Find out more

Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making | Scottish Government

The Scottish Government ran a rapid public engagement process to get input from the public on its decision-making process for Covid for managing lockdown arrangements. As part of this, the government set up a crowdsourcing platform for people to add ideas and comments to inform its approach. Over the course of less than a week, the platform collected 4,122 ideas and 17,966 comments. 

Find out more 

Citizens’ Assembly on the Covid Recovery | Bristol City Council

Bristol City Council has adopted a multi-stage participatory and deliberative process to rebuild a more resilient, fair and sustainable city and understand how Covid-19 has affected its residents and how the city should respond. The Council sees this as an opportunity to confront and address the inequalities that existed before the pandemic and which may be further entrenched. A specific aim is to ensure engagement with those who are often unheard and underrepresented in decision making.

The engagement process has three phases:

  1. Focus groups: To hear from a broad spectrum of people in detail about how coronavirus and lockdown had impacted them. This information was then used to shape the topics covered in the survey.

  2. Survey: The Your City Our Future survey was launched at the beginning of August with the aim of hearing from 5,000 citizens. The topics covered are broad and include how people feel about working from home, as well as changes in travel behaviour, income and job opportunities for example. Crucially, by tracking responses from different communities, the Council is able to target certain groups to ensure it hears from the full diversity of the city.

  3. Citizens’ Assembly: Based on the work outlined above, the Council will identify the issues that are both important to people but which also divide opinion. This will then be brought to a citizens’ assembly of one hundred Bristolians, or up to three smaller citizens' juries depending on the breadth of issues raised through the survey. Using evidence, and through debate, participants will produce recommendations for the council and other city partners to consider.

This work is feeding into Bristol’s recovery plan, which is being developed alongside the assembly as part of an iterative process, allowing for the incorporation of the outputs of engagement with citizens. The plan is a collaborative piece of work, bringing together city stakeholders from all sectors around a shared vision for Bristol post-Covid. Outputs of the engagement will also be used to inform the annual refresh of the Council’s One City Plan, laying out our vision for Bristol to 2050.

Find out more

Find more examples

Participedia collection: Citizens Voices & Values on Covid-19

Participedia is building a collection of projects and resources from around the world on deliberative public engagement processes that explore citizens’ thoughts and values on trade-offs among health, privacy, and economic concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Access them here