Draft Delivery Agreement (March 2023)
Appendix 5: Review of Previous CIS
In line with guidance in the Development Plans Manual, in Stage 1 of the DA it is important to evaluate the previous CIS to identify what lessons can be learned and how the new CIS can build on or improve on the previous strategy.
The Council attempted to engage people as early as possible during the previous plan preparation process. Using a variety of different approaches, a large volume of information was collected from a multitude of different stakeholders. However, certain methods of engagement were more successful than others and some had unanticipated outcomes. Furthermore, the Council recognises there is room for improvement in some areas, especially when it comes to engaging with seldomly heard groups.
For the previous LDP information was often circulated in print form. Printed documents were deposited in Council buildings for people to read and/or take. Information was also distributed using local newspapers, newsletters, and leaflets with the intention of reaching as many people as possible. However, it is unclear how many people received this information, and if they did, whether they read the documents. The Council received complaints especially from businesses as mailing lists often neglected commercial properties, so they were unaware of what was happening locally in terms of potential development and opportunities to engage. Printing and distributing information uses a great deal of resources which does not comply with the Council's corporate ambition to reduce paper use and become more sustainable. Furthermore, some of the publications used to disseminate information no longer exist or have moved online.
The Council intends to move towards a more digital focussed strategy especially when it comes to circulating information. Moving away from predominately printed documents, towards more diverse forms of media. One example could be producing short videos which can be displayed on screens in public areas and published on the Council's social media channels and website. A greater emphasis will be on visual media for example posters, that can be displayed in public areas and in Council buildings. The intention here is to raise awareness of the RLDP and ways people can get involved by making information more accessible and engaging. More engagement will be done online, in the hope of increasing the number of people who can get involved and have a say. This will involve working with the web team to make the LDP pages as streamlined and easy to navigate as possible, as feedback from the previous plan preparation process mentioned using the website involved too many clicks.
Despite this digital shift, the Council is aware that this will not suite some sections of the population. For example, many people do not have access to computers and/or are not comfortable using technology. The intention is not to only engage digitally, but to consider different methods of engagement and to be more targeted in how it engages with certain groups. Physical versions of documents can still be deposited in Council buildings however, staff can be briefed to assist engagement with people about the RLDP. In places such as libraries we can display guidance notes and staff can assist people to use the online resources on public computers or on their smartphones if they have one.
A good example of how carefully targeted information might be more effective than widely distributing paper documents is during the Call for Sites exercise. Previously site notices were posted at every site that had been submitted. This caused unnecessary confusion as people took these notices to be planning applications or approved developments. As a result, many of the responses were not relevant to the plan and yet planning officers still had to analyse them and respond, which was resource intensive. Furthermore, it generated unnecessary antagonism and distress amongst local populations close to sites that were not going to be considered. For the RLDP Call for Sites exercise as soon as reasonably practicable a register of candidate site will be submitted for information only. Site notices will only be displayed for those sites proposed as strategic sites and allocations in the Preferred Strategy and Deposit Plan as appropriate as part of statutory consultation on those documents.
Thinking about how to engage with different stakeholders is vital to a successful CIS. Some groups and individuals responded that they did not feel adequately part of the previous plan preparation process despite concerted efforts to involve them using established networks and partnerships. One example was some Councillors felt engagement could have been improved. The CIS, will ensure early and effective engagement with elected members from an early stage. Elected members will be crucial in sharing information about the Plan amongst their constituents.
People with protected characteristics and seldomly heard groups are important stakeholders that can be engaged more effectively. This involves collaborating with our partners to learn about how best to engage such groups and how to involve them in the plan preparation process at appropriate times. Consultation will ensure that bilingual versions of documents are available to improve engagement in Welsh and consultation will seek to facilitate welsh translation if requested.There is also an opportunity to engage with people in other languages by potentially translating some information in the form of summary leaflets at key consultation stages in other widely spoken languages in Swansea.
The team will work with the Council's consultation coordinator in developing effective engagement methods for the relevant consultation stages.