Let’s talk – council commits to supporting strong, active and inclusive communities
Residents will have greater influence on decisions made by Oxfordshire County Council as part of plans mapped out in a new consultation and engagement strategy.
The new approach was approved by the council’s Cabinet on 15 February. It seeks to put residents at the heart of decision-making to support strong, active and inclusive communities.
Councillor Glynis Phillips, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “The Oxfordshire Fair Deal Alliance wants to lead positive change to make Oxfordshire a greener, fairer and healthier county.
“We are committed to making decisions more openly and inclusively. It marks the start of a new longer-term approach to consultation and engagement that aims to engage with and listen to residents and other partners in a more inclusive way.
"Our new consultation and engagement strategy outlines this approach, which includes listening to what residents value most, involving them in conversations about the things that affect them, and then using that feedback to help shape or improve services.”
The strategy will shape how the council engages with residents on important issues and potential changes until 2025. It intends to incorporate existing good practice already in place within the council and outside to create opportunities that widen the council’s communications into two-way engagement and conversations.
As well as better engagement and listening to residents, the strategy will help increase input from groups such as young people and the digitally excluded.
Plans mapped out in the new strategy include developing the council’s new online engagement platform (‘Let's Talk Oxfordshire’), holding four sounding boards* with children and young people and introducing a series of public engagement events called Oxfordshire Conversations, which will offer opportunities for residents to hear from and ask questions of members of the Cabinet.
* A sounding board is a form of engagement which usually, but not always, provide a deep dive into a topic with group of children and young people. At the end of the sounding board a report is produced, quite often with recommendations co-produced by the group.
Sounding boards can include all or some of the following elements: presentations, question and answer sessions, whole room and roundtable discussions, interactive exercises, video booths, graphic facilitation etc.
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