Consultation Methods

Planning for Real®

In this consultation method, a three-dimensional, indicative model of the community is constructed, often by the local school children, and displayed at a public exhibition. Here policy cards are placed on the model with suggestions which identify the issues and perhaps their location. These are then collated and analysed, and put to a second public meeting for endorsement. Often a timetable for action is drawn up and main parties responsible to action the policies are identified and included in a Community Action Plan.

Community Action Surveys

In this method, researchers, usually locally based, are employed to carry out the whole consultation. They identify the issues with a pilot survey, develop a questionnaire which they distribute to households and collect back, collate and analyse the results, take these to a second public meeting for endorsement, and write the report.

Comparison of the methods

Planning for Real® 

Is not costly and involves the community and the young people by using the school children to build the model. This has a second advantage in linking them into the school curriculum and the history growth and layout of the community. The public exhibition can be a social experience, too, with refreshments and a crèche or play equipment provided and other local groups taking tables to advertise their activities. However, it is dependent on who and how many take the trouble to attend.

Community Action Surveys

These are more expensive because of the cost of the researchers. However, they do much of the work and the results tend to be more representative because they contact and follow up the residents instead of relying on the community to turn out and attend meetings to indicate their views.

 

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