Share your views as part of Falkirk Council’s People’s Panel

If you want to let Falkirk Council know what you think about its services, there’s an easy way to be involved and make your opinion count.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 3:00 pm

The council is looking to recruit people to its People’s Panel, which involves filling in online consultations about everything from rubbish to roads.

The idea is that to make it easy for people to give opinions digitally – because the council believes that giving people a say will lead to better decisions.

And the hope is that younger people will also sign up to make their voices heard through a survey that can be done anytime and takes just a few minutes.

The People’s Panel replaces what was known as the Citizens’ Panel which involved thousands of questionnaires being posted out in four big surveys a year with a mixture of questions.

Emily Webb, who designs the surveys, said: “We found it wasn’t flexible enough. We had to wait for each quarter and people were getting questions about things that were irrelevant to them.”

It also fell foul of the GDPR laws which decimated the information the council had on record.

The People’s Panel format will be familiar to anyone who’s ever signed up to a YouGov survey.

It will take very basic information about where people live along with their ages and target the questionnaires to them.

Emily explained: “When we did a consultation, we found that the preferred method of engagement was online surveys.”

That included 70 per cent of 12-25 year olds who were asked, while it was even higher among the general public with 87 per cent saying that’s how they would be happiest giving their opinion.

The council would like people of every age, from as young as 11, to sign up to give it a broad range of opinions, although children will only be sent surveys that are relevant to their age group.

The information is only any good to the council if they have a significant number of people offering their opinions, so they hope around 2000 people will sign up along with 1000 young people.

“We want to create something that’s easy for everyone to take part in,” said Emily.

It won’t, however, be the only way for people to tell the council what they think.

There will still be consultation events, workshops and meetings where necessary.

The People’s Panel also addresses a common complaint about council consultations – that while they are keen to find out what people think, they are not so good at telling everyone the results.

Members will get feedback on surveys and what they have gleaned from their answers and  Emily promises that the questionnaires will only be every two or three months.

“It’s about getting better intelligence that helps us make better decisions,” said Emily.

To sign up click here