Agenda item

Participation Strategy (Presentation Update)


The Democratic Services Manager provided the Committee with an update and a refresh on the participation strategy which is a requirement under the Local Government and Elections Act for the whole of Wales.


Key points:


This a policy of strategy that encourages local people to participate in local government decision making. The council wish to consult and share the strategy by May 2022.


There are five requirements of the participation strategy, the one that the Committee would be focusing on is around how to promote becoming a Member of the Council or related Authority.  The Officer advised the Members how they will incorporate the feedback that the Committee gave to the officer. The Officer provided an overall timeline, that the strategy is in development at the moment and there should be a working document available ready for December. At that point, the document will return to the Democratic Services Committee for review and comments. From that stage, any amendments will be made and then it will go out to consultation with the public in February.


The group is considering other strategies on safe ways of reaching out to other residents that do not have much of an online presence. The Committee was informed that they are working with groups in the city that are hard to reach and therefore do not have much of a voice on such matters.


Members were advised that from the consultation, they will gather the evidence and outcomes and present it to full Council in March 2022; so it should be ready in time for the strategy to be published in May. This will then form part of the induction training that the Committee has discussed with the Officers in this meeting.


This is important for encouraging participation from Members and potential Members, to share this information with the public so everyone will be aware of the changes made.


In terms of information on how to be a Member; changes have been made on the council website. It takes visitors to a link on the WLGA website with a short film for watching. The Democratic Services Manager advised that such videos mention different experiences of being a Councillor being shared with the public.


The Committee was advised that for the next steps, the officer group working on the participation strategy are looking to develop a communication plan to signpost access to the information on how to become a Councillor. So the Council are focusing on getting that message out to the public.


The Democratic Services Manager informed the Members that they will finish the first draft of the strategy which will then be shared with the Committee in December.


The Committee made the following comments:


·         Councillor Giles noted that the work being done sounds positive and recognised it was very good in the different ways of getting others to apply, such as viewing videos online. The Member advised they look forward to the catch up mentioned.


The Democratic Services Manager confirmed that they will bring the initial strategy to the Committee in December. The officer advised that it might come in later in February 2022 also as they have a chance to do budget consultation which would be the best opportunity to get as much feedback as possible.


·         Councillor Watkins asked if the Democratic Services Manager could circulate the video to the Committee.


The Officer confirmed that the link to the video is embedded as a link within the presentation and that the Lead Officer will send this to the Members.