Customer story: Belfast City Council, UK

Consultation Process
'screenshot of 'Belfast City Council, UK
'screenshot of 'Belfast City Council, UK

Belfast’s story

Belfast’s story might sound familiar to anyone working in or around local government. Their public consultation process was inconsistent, with different departments consulting slightly differently. The lack of standardisation made for a confusing user experience.

Their online consultations were usually hosted through the council website, either asking for responses to a document via email or linking through to a separate survey tool.

This posed a few problems: it meant that consultations could be hard to find, which in turn could lead to lower response rates. Consultations that rely on the user reading or downloading a document aren’t very accessible, particularly to those responding on mobile or using assistive software. Belfast wanted to update their public consultation process - and as it turns out, Citizen Space solved all of these problems at once.

Centralised and standardised

Citizen Space allows an organisation to host all its consultation activity from one place. There’s no limit to how many departments or users can access it, so it can easily scale across an organisation. This centralised model means site admins could see what consultations were happening from one platform and more easily improve the standard of consultation carried out. Features like the ability to save questions for re-use (for example, with demographics questions) make it easy for different departments to maintain consistency. And, because Citizen Space is customised with an organisation’s own branding, citizens can be sure they’re in the right place.

Engaging survey design

Consultations that require a respondent to read a long technical document before they can share their views are daunting and can lead to citizens giving up before they even begin. Citizen Space allows admins to create dynamic consultations that contain all the information a respondent needs without having to leave the site. Things like fact banks, embedded document readers, and rich media like images and videos mean that responding to a survey on Citizen Space is interesting and engaging. It’s also accessible - Citizen Space is WCAG 2.1 compliant, meaning that consultations can be accessed by people using assistive software like screen readers.

Belfast have used many of these features to create well-designed, beautiful consultations that are easy to understand and pleasant to respond to. This in turn increases response rates, and leaves citizens feeling that their input is valued - which, of course, it is.

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