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

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

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

Consultation_wIn January this year the Government published a set of consultation principles, replacing the principles drawn up in 2012 and giving guidance to government departments on conducting consultations. In summary, these principles set out that a consultation:

• Should be clear and concise
• Should have a purpose
• Should be informative
• Is only part of a process of engagement
• Should last for a proportionate amount of time
• Should be targeted
• Should take account of the groups being consulted
• Should be agreed before publication
• Should facilitate scrutiny
• Government responses to consultations should be… Continue reading

The recent Professional Standards Authority (PSA) report, Rethinking Regulation, calls for wholesale changes both to the structure of and approach to regulation of health and care in the UK. The document doesn’t pull any punches, saying: “if regulation was going to improve care, it would have done it by now.” Just a month or so later, NCVO has published a hard-hitting report saying, quite clearly, that the current regulatory regime for charities isn’t working.

Value of regulators

The PSA report puts forward Harvard professor Mark Moore’s strategic triangle, which provides a framework for regulators to conceptualise their task. The… Continue reading

We know from our own work that there are many ways you can seek feedback. We share below three different approaches to collecting feedback – could they inspire your next research and consultation project?

1) Using Lego to solve a university’s timetable challenges

The University of the Arts in London used Lego to help gather feedback on its timetabling issues. The staff group were joined by a ‘Lego Serious Play’ facilitator, who helped them to use Lego to look at their timetable issues from the perspective of all stakeholders.

2) Using Minecraft as a planning and visualisation tool

Dundee… Continue reading