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We are delighted to announce that the Food Standards Agency have appointed Community Research in partnership with 2CV Research to deliver their citizens’ forum research programme over the next 18 months (and hopefully beyond!)  The two agencies each bring a different but overlapping set of skills and experience to the partnership, giving the FSA the benefits of working with boutique agencies while also being able to access the resources and expertise of a wider consortium.

The FSA’s programme of consumer engagement is based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies with a broad range of audiences including SMEs,… Continue reading

Thames Water_wAfter a rigorous procurement process we’re delighted to say that Community Research has been selected by Thames Water as their sole supplier of Public Consultation services over the next 3 years, with the option to extend this for up to a further 3 years, if agreed by both parties. This covers the period of the next price review, during which the company will have much cause to engage with and consult its 15 million customers on its future challenges, plans and investment proposals.

Our work will involve:

  • Advising on appropriate consultation techniques and methods for increasing engagement.
  • Event management and… Continue reading

Since our last newsletter we were delighted to be part of a water industry roundtable on customer engagement on 21st April 2016. We jointly organised the event with The Consumer Council for Water, Water UK, Ofwat and The Consultation Institute.

The aims were:

  • To allow customer engagement and Customer Challenge Group leads the time and space to discuss challenges and share learning.
  • To provide an opportunity to stimulate and influence the debate on the future of customer engagement in the water industry.

The audience heard from speakers from inside and outside the sector and were given… Continue reading

We are ‘Community Research’, so we, of all people, should be clear what we mean by ‘community’. When a client recently asked us what we mean by communities we took a step back to reconsider this important question.

According to the dictionary a community is a group of people who:

• live in the same place or;
• has characteristics or interests in common.
In recent years a new definition has come about:
• a space for collaborating or communicating online.

With regard to this last definition, when you think about it, wherever an online community exists, it is arguably… Continue reading

We wanted to share this excellent piece by Rhion Jones of the Consultation Institute, in response to the recent Referendum. Those of you who are already members of the Institute will have seen this in the form of a fortnightly Tuesday Topic.

Should we ask the question? – What can we learn from the EU Referendum?

We have always regarded a referendum as a form of a consultation – and the recent EU referendum has illustrated many of the pitfalls familiar to public engagement practitioners. The in/out question has many critics – unsurprisingly mostly from the losing side.… Continue reading

Using Research EvidenceWe have seen some useful free consultation and research resources recently, so we wanted to share them with you:

1) Nesta and the Alliance for Useful Evidence has produced a new guide Using research evidence – a practice guide. The publication has been designed to help improve the way people work by using evidence effectively.

2) Sciencewise has:

  • Recently piloted its Sounding Board tool which is used to gain rapid public input on challenging issues involving science and technology.
  • Piloted an event to understand whether one-off, public workshops could be a … Continue reading

MRS_wWe are delighted to announce that Community Research has just become an MRS Company Partner. Whilst we have always maintained the highest research standards we felt it was time to publicly commit to those standards. We hope our work speaks for itself, but now our clients along with the stakeholders and members of the public who contribute so much to our projects, can be further assured that we are adhering to the standards and guidance of the world’s leading research association.

In March 2016 the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) held its annual conference for health professions regulators in the rather grand setting of Windsor Great Park. The theme this year was ‘Regulating for Positive Outcomes’ and it was an opportunity for regulators to take some time away from day to day operational activity and take stock. Sessions included ‘revalidating for positive outcomes’, ‘turning negatives into positives’ and ‘using data for positive outcomes’. An overarching question was – what are regulators actually for and how well are they delivering?

We were particularly struck by a presentation by Tim Walker of the General… Continue reading

We were recently asked to design and facilitate a workshop for the University of Warwick as it is trying to find new ways to approach a longstanding and widespread problem in the sector. How can the current gender equality gap amongst academic staff be tackled? The University of Warwick – like most other UK universities – has a major issue with a lack of women in senior academic roles. The Times Higher Education supplement highlighted how extensive a problem this is in a survey a few years ago. Whilst almost half of academics in UK… Continue reading

Continuous engagement is, it seems, being talked about more and more and we therefore think that, as a concept, it is worth examining in more detail. As a starting point, the obvious question is: what do we mean by continuous engagement? In a forthcoming paper we have written for the Consultation Institute we described it as:

• Ongoing research and consultation rather than just engaging at critical moments.
• Engagement across multiple touchpoints.
• Ensuring that consumers, customers, citizens or patients are at the heart of an organisation’s culture and involving them at the earliest possible stage of idea development.… Continue reading