Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by Devon County Council

We wish to draw the enclosed to the attention of the Select Committee as examples of the innovative work on citizen participation in Government currently being undertaken by this Authority.

  Devon County Council is a "Better Government for Older People" pilot authority, and the examples given are drawn from the work of that pilot. However, they naturally link to our wider citizen participation work, for example, in community profiling, and in our Intracom project for the development of the information society in Devon. The Annual Report attached[4] references some of the outcomes achieved.

  There appear to us to be particular issues for rural areas in the development of citizen participation, and we would wish the Select Committee to pay particular attention to the development and maintenance costs of such approaches.

  Aspects of the BGOP programme in Devon which we would wish to highlight include:

    The involvement of a group of older people, widely drawn from the interest groups of older people and geographic communities of Devon in developing a framework for strategic engagement of older citizens in the longer term. This is intended to be "joined up" engagement, to which, we hope, all the authorities within our administrative boundaries will subscribe. The papers marked A and B are development tools in this process.

    The involvement of older people in the Intracom project ensuring that issues of particular concern to older people are taken into account in developing the form and content of IT based community information services.

    The development of neighbourhood groups with a direct link to area sub-committees of joint County/District Council Partnership Committees (North Devon).

    The use of day forums and working groups to consult older people in a "joined-up" way and to promote the development of Best Value (Teignbridge and Exeter respectively).

    The use of a specially developed website, utilising software which facilitates the use of screen readers by people with visual difficulties in order to: allow people without email accounts to send messages to our Leader, Chief Executive and project personnel, from public access points; consult people about the development of strategy and services for older people.

  We would be happy to provide further information if required.

Mike Ellis

for Chief Executive

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