Customer story: North West Leicestershire, UK

Community Engagement Process
'screenshot of 'North West Leicestershire, UK
'screenshot of 'North West Leicestershire, UK

Boosting recycling

North West Leicestershire (NWDLC) is a district council in the UK with responsibility for some 100,000 residents. In common with many local authorities, it is grappling with steep challenges around climate change and sustainability – including recycling.

The Council conducted research which found that recycling levels in the area were below where they needed to be. They set themselves a target: to reach a recycling rate of 50 per cent within three years.

NWDLC identified several reasons behind the initial low recycling rate; one recurring theme in the research was that 'many residents find the current system of several boxes and bags confusing and difficult to manage'.

The Council came up with a pilot scheme to try and address this issue. They issued 250 residents with new 'recycling trolleys': a single set of stackable containers on wheels. They hoped this would make recycling simpler and more convenient – and therefore more popular.

Feedback on trial schemes

It was crucial to NWDLC that they get feedback on this pilot scheme:

  1. to see whether residents found it a workable solution
  2. to find out if there were ways to improve or refine the scheme
  3. and to hear people's opinions on the idea – because, in the UK, anything involving people's bins is massively contentious!

The Council wanted a mechanism for people to give their feedback on the recycling initiative.

North West Leicestershire gathered feedback online with Citizen Space

Citizen Space is a digital platform for managing all kinds of community engagement activity in one place. Its simple, user-friendly interface and instant analysis and reporting tools make it ideal for collecting feedback.

North West Leicestershire had already chosen to adopt Citizen Space for their formal consultation and public involvement work. So they knew they could easily use it as a feedback mechanism, too.

They created a dedicated feedback survey in Citizen Space, making use of the platform's flexibility to give people an easy way to submit their responses that was distinct from a formal consultation process.

The feedback form used a mix of qualitative and quantitative questions, plus standardised demographics, to collect participants' views on the pilot recycling scheme.

This gave residents a simple, convenient way to give their feedback – on their own terms, in their own time, and from home during lockdown. It also made it far easier for the Council to collate, analyse and report on the results of the pilot.

With the review of the recycling trolleys still underway, NWDLC have also launched a second, concurrent pilot scheme to compare results. The Council is already well on its way towards its target of a 50% recycling rate – seeing an increase to 46.3% in 2019/20.

We’re on a three year journey to improve the district’s recycling rate to 50 per cent and we want residents to be on that journey with us for the good of the environment and the future of our planet.

Councillor Andrew Woodman, Portfolio Holder for Community Services at NWLD

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