Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by North Norfolk District Council

I am pleased to submit to the above inquiry evidence concerned with consulting citizens and enhancing participation in local government.

  I am writing on behalf of the Norfolk Citizens' Panel Partnership Forum, constituted of a representative from all Local Authorities in Norfolk, the Health and Police Authorities and the Enterprise Partnership.

  Together we have established a county-wide Citizens' Panel for Norfolk of 7,000 residents. This is made up of panels of 1,000 in each of the seven Districts. The districts are therefore able to ask questions specific to their own area. We are also able to get comparable "benchmarking" data by co-ordinating questions on key issues or topics.

  The County organisations receive the bigger picture on county-wide issues or services from the entire panel. We also have the opportunity to ask integrated questions about issues or services which are delivered through both administrative tiers, for example economic development or waste disposal.

  The initial exercise is being run as a pilot for 18 months to March 2001, during which time we will be conducting four major surveys. We have employed the City of York Council to run the pilot exercise for us, providing the required expertise and support. It is hoped that, over the life of the pilot, the Partner Organisations are able to develop the required "in-house" capacity to fully manage and run the project ourselves.

  Recruitment to the panel took place in October 1999. We undertook a postal recruitment with face to face interviews to top up the hard to reach groups. The response rate across the county was about 18 per cent. The first questionnaire to the panel was mailed out at the end of November 1999 and the second was conducted in August 2000 (with a county-wide response rate of 63 per cent).

  I have enclosed a copy of our Terms of Reference[10], which provides the detailed information about the panel, and the roles and responsibilities of the partner organisations. Also enclosed is a copy of the original report sent to the Consultation Committee at North Norfolk District Council, which sets the scene to the project.

  Should you have any questions or require further information, please contact myself at the address above, or Derry Kelleher at Norfolk County Council.

Ian Burbidge
Research Office, North Norfolk District Council

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