Weeknotes: Training, Shortlisting and Demographics, w/c 2nd September 2019


  • Preparing for PB shortlisting event in Frome
  • Training workshop in Calderdale
Seven people sat around a round table talking in twos and threes
A listening training exercise in progress at the Calderdale Engagement Training

Last week…

  • We carried out a training workshop in Calderdale to help prepare those who will be delivering conversations with residents. Working through the stages of plan, do, and learn/review. This included thinking about listening skills and identifying any unmet learning needs.
  • We are now at a stage where we’ll be less heavily involved as the council start to put these conversations in action. Though as these conversations happen we’ll be hearing reflections about how well or not the prototypes have worked – we’ve created a learning and reflections form that will be used to capture these. You can see (and comment on) a template of the learning and reflections form, if its useful to adapt for your own practice.

This week we will…

  • Prepare for a Participatory Budgeting shortlisting event in Frome, where we will be asking a group of citizens to shortlist ideas for how the town council can best spend £10,000. In particular we are making sure we can gather enough information beforehand about the proposals being considered. At the event we are going to be asking our participants to consider the feasibility, impact and equity of the public’s ideas, so we’ll need to make sure we have enough information about each idea beforehand.
  • We’ll also be using this event to ask participants a bit about what made them get involved, and about what the event was like for them. We are currently planning this research and evaluation.

What we’re thinking…

  • Last week was a difficult week for UK democracy. It’s increasingly vital that those of us who value democracy are willing to treat it as more than just an abstract concept and express why it’s important and what it looks like when its working well.

And finally…

  • When thinking about delivery in different places, it is important to consider and understand how these contexts differ. We all have experience of things working well in one scenario and then seeing it not achieve the same results in another. mySociety are used to exploring the demographics of who uses their services, and have now applied these approaches to local authorities. This helps show how different councils compare. You can find out more through this blog.