Successful consultation has always been about creating conversations – genuine dialogue. Traditionally, this has happened in town halls, libraries and other public spaces, but the COVID-19 pandemic has meant this is no longer possible. The ability to continue to involve local communities in these discussions is essential to ensuring the projects that are key to the country’s recovery are not stalled – infrastructure, housing, retail, energy, and health.
Engage, our specialist consultation practice, has been designed to provide the tools needed to comply with the consultation requirements for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. At the same time, it, also has the flexibility to meet the needs of a wide range of other projects from planning applications for housing developments, to change programmes being run by the NHS.
EngageOnline is fully customisable and offers complete flexibility. While there is no need for the pandemic to pause consultation activity, it is very important that flexibility is maintained. As restrictions have become relaxed, we have already seen local authorities asking applicants to take a blended approach, utilising both digital and face to face techniques. That is why EngageOnline has been designed to be as effective for ‘digital only’ consultations as it is for ‘blended’ programmes. It is not a pastiche of in person events – it is a user friendly, all-device-compatible online home for the project.