Engagement at Distance
How is COVID-19 changing the way councils engage with communities?
The public discussion hosted remotely in May 2020, asked how councils are rethinking their engagement strategies? What are the new principles of participation? And what new tools and methods are starting to emerge?
The discussion was held between four Public Practice Associates, chaired by Jessica Cargill Thompson, Community Engagement Officer at Waltham Forest. Eleni Katrini, Lead Urban Designer described how Newham is adapting engagement strategies in an era of physical distancing. Arman Nouri, Regeneration Engagement Manager introduced how estate regeneration and associated programmes of engagement in Enfield are responding to lockdown. Jonathan Broderick spoke of how much of his role as Town Centres Investment Manager at Barnet has changed from physical town centre regeneration to business support; from growth and improvement to survival and recovery and the value in established and evolving networks in the borough.
Presentations were followed by a discussion, informed by active and engaged participation from over 250 attendees. Notable themes arose around the practicality and implications of digital collaboration; the roles of authorities in a time of crisis; and how practice may change in future informed by the current and evolving experience in public engagement. What underpins best practice in engagement, for who, how, and why - at any time, unprecedented or not - flowed through all of this.