Customer story: Sefton Council, UK

Spatial Planning Process
'screenshot of 'Sefton Council, UK
'screenshot of 'Sefton Council, UK

A chance in a lifetime

Southport was one of 101 locations invited to bid for a slice of the UK government’s Towns Fund in 2019. One condition of being awarded funding was of applicants demonstrating that they’d engaged the community on their proposals.

Sefton Council took this opportunity to engage widely on a future vision for Southport, by using Citizen Space’s configurable hub in a unique way to gather public feedback on five ‘Big Ideas’ for the area.

Each of these Big Ideas – World Class Waterfront, Thriving Town Centre, Stronger Economy, Green and Clean, and Better Connected – included a number of project ideas.

These included investing in the Convention Centre, developing a creative and digital hub in the town centre, improving rail services and creating opportunities for living by the waterfront: all ideas Sefton Council thought would revitalise the area and attract wider investment from both the private sector and government. They asked what the public thought of these ideas and what they might have missed.

To ensure people were able to find and respond to the consultation easily, Sefton Council created a separate landing page to group all the consultations and activities within the project together.

The configurable hub

Citizen Space’s configurable hub feature has a lot of useful features. Organisations can highlight key consultations together with thumbnail images, and add images and extra headings. They can also separate and present information in different ways, adapt blocks of content, and even add a second landing page.

Sefton Council set up one such second landing page for their Big Ideas for Southport consultation in the summer of 2020. The landing page featured a range of information: as well as the Big Ideas consultations, it highlighted artists’ impressions of proposals, and added the sections ‘What you’ve already told us’ and ‘Big ideas for change’ as well as a video summarising the issues. Respondents were asked to prioritise their top three Big Ideas, then were prompted for more comments and further suggestions.

Sefton Council received 2,100 or so responses to the Big Ideas consultations, a great result especially given the restrictions on public meetings and events during COVID-19. They went on to engage with hundreds more stakeholders, including university and college students, school children, visitors and local business owners.

And the work didn’t stop there. After the consultation Sefton Council added detailed feedback on each of the Big Ideas to Citizen Space, ensuring they remained accountable to their citizens and those seeking updates on the status of the project. They are also keen to emphasise the door continues to be open for anyone wanting to contribute their views.

Making consultation more dynamic

The configurable hub gives customers choices on how they present consultations, engagements and other activities, while remaining accessible to citizens. There are lots of ways to making the interface visually appealing, with clearer separation between different types of activity. And the increase in the amount of information that can be displayed upfront means less need to search.

Sefton Council made the most of their Citizen Space to create a dynamic, creative way for people to get involved in their bid for government funding to change the face of Southport for the better.

In 2021, it was announced that their bid for funding was successful. The funding they were awarded will ensure Southport is a vibrant destination for generations to come.

Want a real person to walk you through a live demo?

We’re happy to help out. We'll answer all your questions. We won't share your contact details.

Request a Free Demo