NEWS: Welsh partnership to use INOVEM for shared-service approach to community consultation

29th June 2009
Welsh partnership to use INOVEM for shared-service approach to community consultation Torfaen County Borough Council, on behalf of their Local Service Board, has selected INOVEM's Inclusionware suite of products to support a co-ordinated approach to community consultation amongst local public and voluntary sector organisations.

The award of contract was made after an extensive evaluation process which included in-depth interviews with prospective suppliers and a selection of each supplier's existing clients.

Torfaen, in association with their local partners, have been working with other Welsh authorities to develop an Enhanced Consultation Strategy (ECS) that provides a practical and effective engagement methodology and a number of supporting tools that will help them make good quality, citizen focused decisions. The ECS is, in part, a response to a report published in June 2007 by the "Making the Connections Unit" at the Welsh Assembly Government which suggested that consultation activities in Wales should be more considered and better co-ordinated, especially when involving the general public.

Co-ordination of local consultations seen as key benefit

Lyn Cadwallader, Torfaen's Research and Citizen Participation Manager, believes that the new service will help set the standard in Wales for improving partnership communications and delivering a unified service for local consultations.

Speaking about Torfaen's decision Lyn said, "Currently it is not uncommon for one consultation exercise to unknowingly repeat questions from another, sometimes to the same audience. This not only wastes time and money for Torfaen and our partners, but also creates confusion and a perception of poor co-ordination amongst those we have engaged with. With the new enhanced consultation service we hope to eliminate duplication and inefficiencies and maximise our existing resources and research information."

Amongst other things, the new service will provide:
  • a shared consultation calendar of planned consultation events, projects and surveys to encourage partnership communication, co-ordination and transparency;
  • a facility for cross-service surveys allowing for economies of scale and sharing of research data;
  • and an online 'management board' for consultation practitioners of various public and voluntary sector agencies to communicate information on proposed and completed consultations, to seek advice and share best practice.

INOVEM partnership solution "impressive"

With regard to the selection process Lyn added, "After evaluating several systems on behalf of our local partnership we chose INOVEM because we were impressed by the capabilities, flexibility and ease-of-use of their software. We feel that their Inclusionware suite is unique in its ability to support both online team-working and community consultation for the partnership, the council and our planning policy team. We were also very impressed by the positive and enthusiastic feedback we got from the INOVEM clients we talked to, especially with regard to the quality of the service and support they provide."

John Glover, INOVEM's Sales & Marketing Director, said "We are really impressed by the commitment and effort Torfaen and other Welsh Authorities are now making to co-ordinate community consultation at the local level. We look forward to working with Lyn's team and, amongst others, the Police Authority, the Local Health Board and Torfaen Voluntary Alliance to help them deliver their vision of a joined-up approach to community engagement."

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