Engaging with and hearing the views of the people and organisations of Buckinghamshire has been at the heart of our proposal for a single unitary council right from the earliest stages of our planning.
When we were examining all of the possible options and then starting to develop our proposal for the preferred option of a single new council, we talked with town and parish councils at a series of workshop sessions to understand from them how a new council could best be set up; this crucial information and insight informed the development of our business case. At that time, we also conducted a telephone survey and invited all town and parish councils to complete an online survey. You can view the results of this engagement here.
In order to engage with the wider public, as the business case was being developed, we held 18 ‘Meet your Council’ roadshow events at a range of popular locations and venues right across the county – these included weekly street markets, a large outdoor music event, a horticultural show and a garden centre. These events were an important way for local people to be able to talk to Council officers or an elected councillor about the plans and give us their views on a new model for local government.
In Autumn 2016 following the publication of the business case for a single Buckinghamshire-wide council, we offered to meet with every town and parish council in the county to answer questions from councillors and clerks. You can view a list of the 95 town and parish councils we visited. We’ve also compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers, based on those discussions.
In 2017 we carried out further widespread public engagement, which provided residents, businesses and other organisations with the opportunity to have their say through an engagement questionnaire, a telephone survey and a series of face to face group discussions with town and parish councillors and representatives from Buckinghamshire’s voluntary and community sector. Everyone who took part was able to share their opinions on both the County Council’s proposal for a single, county-wide unitary council and the district councils’ proposal for two unitary councils for the county.
You can view the full report of the 2017 engagement activity here.