Public consultation, at its best, is a collaborative exercise with citizens. Setting up a public consultation project with Voxcitio builds this participatory ethos into every step. Let’s take the example of an energy provider planning a project that will affect multiple landowners and residents over a large area so that we can take a look at this from a project workers point of view.
Firstly, you will need to assemble your database of contacts that you wish to consult with over the course of the project. That might be a spreadsheet with landowners/residents names and addresses, or it might be a list of businesses and stakeholders. Either way, you will need to import that into Voxcitio to allow us to map these individuals out for you. Once this is done you can then view your initial database (this can be added to as the project progresses) and begin to set up target areas for outreach work.
It is most likely that a project will have multiple team members with varying roles and permission levels. Onboarding these team members is done simply by email invite and permission levels can be assigned from the outset. Project managers, outreach coordinators, and simple canvassers can all get access to the project quickly, and at the appropriate level. What is nice is that individual training can be provided by the Voxcitio Success team which takes some of the pressure off the project team management at this very busy stage.
The hard work of face-to-face interactions with landowners is made simpler by using your own mobile phone to lead the interaction and capture information. Key data points include citizen contact information, surveys, and tracking issues. All of the data is auto-synced back to the dashboard. All interactions are logged to ensure an audit trail is maintained and compliance assured.
Every point of contact and element of the public consultation work should be captured and maintained in the database. This allows the project team to segment citizens based on #issues, by area, and by the level of contact that they have received. The database should reflect the current state of play with the consultation and indicate the next steps for the project team.
Next steps can take the form of a segmented email to those people who are concerned about, say, disruption during works. It might take the form of a redoubling of outreach work in an area where a lot of landowners were missed the first time around. It might be simply the calling of a public meeting to address a key concern head-on before it becomes a bigger issue. Follow-up work is critical in maintaining the participation of citizens and successful delivery of projects.
Every project team that works in public consultation struggles with reporting, simply because it can be so difficult to collate so much qualitative and quantitative data taken over time. Voxcitio provides much easier ways to view and understand data and has ready-made reporting that can feed into the direction a project is taking. It is, of course, also a much easier task to give a project report up the line when so much of the structure of the report is hardwired into the collection process.
Compliance with project standards, be they legal or normative, will always play a part in a public consultation. Data privacy is a key concern, as is a credible record of all interactions that have taken place. Voxcitio applies ‘privacy by design’ to its build process and, as a result, operates at the highest standard of data protection for a data controller. Compliance is underpinned by the idea of transparency and accountability, so Voxcitio offers a way to record the consultation process openly and honestly.
Every project team wants to get to a successful project delivery without challenges to the project as a whole. Having a system that encourages participation from citizens, that takes data privacy as one of its core objectives, and that is transparent in all data points helps greatly in achieving this goal.
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