Weeknote: Planning Co-Design, w/c 13th May 2019


  • Designing a Co-design workshop with Calderdale Council
  • Pulling together information about Participatory Budgeting and approaches to online voting for Frome
  • Getting clear our approach to discovery and co-design

Last week…

  • We are moving ever closer to a co-design workshop in Calderdale next week, which will bring community stakeholders together with the council to help plan a wide-ranging conversation this summer about the relationship between residents and the council. Last week we spent time designing the workshop together with Calderdale Council’s Neighbourhoods and Cohesion Manager.
  • We want to help our partner councils out, by providing inspiration about new approaches. In Frome we are starting to pull together information about Participatory Budgeting to use for thinking through options for delivering a ‘Town Vote’.
  • We’re also thinking about what the options are for using digital tools to facilitate a ‘big conversation’ with residents in Calderdale and how you might evaluate the success of this kind of approach.
  • With some of our councils we are already making a good start on discovery research about their context and needs. In each area we hope to work with a wide range of stakeholder to design new ways of engaging in partnership. We’ve been spending time making sure everything is in order for this, and that we’ll be able to capture all our learning – including our personal reflections.
  • To that end, we’re continuing to explore digital tools which exist out there which can bring about increased community participation around project idea generation. If you know of any that you think we need to know about, drop us a line!

This week we will…

  • Be speaking with senior people in Glasgow City Council to agree how they’ll be involved in the programme.
  • Be meeting with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) to update them about the Public Square Programme.
  • Be catching-up with our good friend and member of the Technical Reference Group for the programme, Oliver Escobar, to update them on our progress to date and pick their brains about some of the ‘thorny issues’ which have been exposed so far.
  • Be getting everything ready for an intense week of co-design work in Calderdale the following week.

What we’re thinking…

  • Co-design is going to be a really interesting, but a challenging, part of the project. We’ll be facilitating the aspirations of councils coming together with those of their communities, and sharing our own ideas about possible approaches. Alongside what we learn from the design work we expect there will also be plenty to learn about using this approach itself in this context.

And finally…

  • We’re continuing to give some thought as to what ‘phase two’ of the programme looks like in delivery terms and are picking up some conversations with councils which are already keen to explore this with us. We are thinking about how to turn the outcomes of co-design into helping councils on their journey to ever-better citizen participation.