Memorandum by Medway Council
Further to your request through the LGA for evidence
of innovatory approaches to citizens' participation in local government,
we would like to submit a recent initiative the council ran to
consult on transport. The initiative "Moving Medway Forward"
aimed to provide information on what direction local people thought
transport policy should be developed in the Medway area with a
view to incorporating their contributions in the Local Transport
Plan. This consultation process had three distinct phases but
the outcomes of each phase were linked and the recommendations
from phase one fed into the next and so on.
The first phase was a citizens' inquiry on
transport. This approach recognised the complexity of the issue
being explored and provided an opportunity for a team of local
people (broadly representing all the key sections of the community)
to learn about these issues and consider the evidence presented
from a number of expert and lay witnesses. This phase of the project
was run on a citizens' jury model but with the addition of allocated
Council Member observers who followed the inquiry throughout and
were to provide the link with the second stage of the consultation.
The second phase provided an opportunity for
councillors to explore and consider the inquiry team recommendations.
This phase was organised as a workshop event with representatives
from the inquiry team presenting and discussing their recommendations
with councillors, followed by smaller group discussions to explore
the recommendations in more detail and consider some of the implementation
issues that may arise should the recommendation be adopted.
Phase three involved a survey of Medway citizens'
panel which involves some 1,500 people from throughout Medway,
who as a whole are representative of Medway's population. The
survey was designed to seek broad based feedback from residents
on the transport policy recommendations being proposed from phases
one and two. It also provided an opportunity to collect information
that would be vital to effectively implementing these proposals.
The findings of this initiative have been well
received by residents, council member and technical transport
officers. Given that the inquiry formed the initial phase of the
initiative the recommendations were rooted in an informed citizens
view. Their recommendations proved to be both practical and innovative.
Members have warmly welcomed the fact that the recommendations
reflect the real concerns of local people and are not beyond the
bounds of the council's financial constraints.
A steering group that involved representatives
from some of the main transport providers in the area oversaw
the initiative. They too have welcomed the recommendations and
are exploring how they can act on those elements that relate to
their areas of concern.
The survey of the citizens' panel has provided
information that supports the main thrust of the recommendations
proposed by the inquiry team and Members. However these findings
have clarified that policy implementation will need to prioritise
particular improvements on certain parts of Medway and that the
travel patterns of local people will need to be addressed through
The attached briefing document outlines some
of the main findings of the Moving Medway Forward initiative and
also describes the process in more detail. I have also enclosed
a copy of the summary report from the citizens' inquiry for your
information. I look forward to hearing about the progress of the
Select Committee Inquiry. Should you require any further information
please feel free to contact myself or Sally Morris (Principal
Research Officer) on 01634/332755 (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
Head of Policy and CommunicationsMedway Council