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Agenda item


To consider a progress report on the recommendations made in the internal audit report of Community Engagement issued on 18 December 2018.


Ms Chloe Shore, Community Engagement and Partnership Manager presented the Committee with a progress report on the recommendations made following the internal audit review of Community Engagement. The scope of the audit had been to review and assess the arrangements in place for engagement with the community across the Council’s service areas in order to assist the Community Engagement team in embedding a strategic, effective and consistent approach to engagement.


Ms Shore informed the Committee that a steering group had been established in order to provide departmental updates and that tracking of large ‘one off’ engagement activities would be the aim as it would be unmanageable to track the high volume of every individual engagement that occurred. When asked how the criteria for a larger activity was determined, Ms Shore clarified that this would vary between projects but that anything which would potentially generate a large amount of interest and which would affect a predetermined percentage of the community would be considered, with the Steering Group to discuss and make the final decision.


In relation to R1 ‘We recommend that the Council produces a Community Engagement Strategy, which should build on existing engagement mechanisms’ Ms Shore updated that whilst the initial draft of the policy had been produced, feedback was being gathered in order to inform the final version. In addition, the Committee was informed that a Members’ meeting would be held the following week in order to receive their feedback prior to finalisation of the policy. Committee Members questions how the introduction of the Community Engagement Policy had improved working practices across the Council, with Ms Shore stating that the policy had resulted in a more consistent focus and delivery across departments and that she had received positive feedback regarding the improvements.


A question was raised regarding R3 ‘We recommend that the Community Engagement team establishes a working link with partner organisation engagement functions to allow for better local engagement coordination, avoidance of duplication and where possible sharing of intelligence and data’. The Committee asked which external partners the team would like further involvement from, with Ms Shore responding that initial conversations had been held with the police and that further collaboration was hoped for. She further explained that she attended external meetings with key partner organisations to help prevent duplication and to share intelligence.


Discussion was held around the importance of informing Members of any potential community engagement activities, as well as a comprehensive directory of services which Councillors could use to direct interested constituents. Ms Shore informed the Committee that community engagement training had been offered in 2019 but that further training could be arranged if required. She went on to explain that the Steering Group had only recently been established but that the information from its meetings could be forwarded to the Members’ Support team for distribution to the relevant Councillors. Ms Shore also made it clear that Members were welcome to email her directly with any queries.


Further information was also sought by the Committee in relation to R16 ‘We recommend that the decision to place the community engagement function in Public Health is reviewed to provide the function with the best positioning and platform to affect community engagement across the Council.’ Ms Shore updated that the Transformation Manager was undertaking a review to determine where community engagement would be best placed within the Council, with clarification provided that Public Health encompassed a wide range of provisions not limited to health services.


Ms Shore concluded by outlining the beneficial outcomes of the internal audit recommendations, advising that they had resulted in a more consistent approach across the Council.



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