Agenda item

Public Participation Strategy : 2023/2028

To submit a report by the Head of Profession (Human Resources) and Transformation.


Submitted – a report by the Head of Profession (Human Resources) & Transformation for consideration by the Committee.


The Portfolio Member for Corporate and Customer Experience said that under the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021, local authorities in Wales must produce a Participation Strategy which notes how local people are encouraged to take part in the Council’s decision-making process.  The strategy aims to encourage people to take part in the Council’s business and build on success that the Council has achieved in engaging with residents as recognised by Audit Wales.  A consultation exercise was undertaken with Council Officers for a four-week period.  A high percentage of respondents agreed with the content of the Strategy which shows support for the Strategy and the intention to review it regularly.  It was recognised that improvement is required as regards increased participation by children and young people in the Council’s decisions, looking at new methods of gathering and presenting feedback digitally and considering ways of reporting successes/lack of successes in terms of participation.   He noted that the Public Participation Strategy will be submitted to the Executive at its meeting to be held on 24 October, 2023 and thereafter to the full Council on 26 October, 2023 for ratification.


In considering the report, the Committee discussed the following main matters:-


·     Questions were raised as to what the additional arrangements and processes are proposed to be put in place to ensure full compliance with the new requirements.  The Programme Manager responded that participation and responses to consultations needs to be improved especially as responses to the consultations are lower within the 16 to 24 age group.  The Children’s and Young People Forum is to be re-established to attract responses from the younger generation to the work of the Council.  Re-establishment of the Engagement and Consultation Board needs to be undertaken to ensure compliance with the Public Participation Strategy.  He further said that work needs to be undertaken to assess different ways to gather digital responses to consultations.  Demographic factors need to be considered due to the ageing population on Anglesey; in some cases, the older population do not use the digital platform to respond to consultations and would rather respond in the traditional methods. 

·     Reference was made that youth participating needs to be encouraged within the democratic functions of the Council.  The Vice-Chair said that children from Valley Primary School were invited by the Leader recently to view the democratic functions and explanations of the work of the departments within the Council.  The Portfolio Member for Children, Youth and Housing Services said that the voice of children and young people is paramount to the Local Authority’s services which impact their daily lives.  Reference was made that Secondary School pupils should also be encouraged and invited to the Council and they have a strong opinion as to what they would like to happen within their communities.  Questions were raised as to whether Work Experience opportunities are afforded by the Council and whether the schools and local agencies who work with young people are aware of work experience opportunities.  The Head of Profession (Human Resources) & Transformation responded that as the largest employer on Anglesey work experience opportunities are afforded to young people and work is undertaken with Llandrillo Menai College to attract students to work in residential homes.  The Human Resources Team work closely with schools in offering information as to the employment opportunities within the Council.

·     Questions were raised as to the financial implication of realising the proposed Participation Strategy.  The Chief Executive responded that it is not anticipated that there will be any additional financial costs as regards to the Strategy as it is a statutory requirement.  He expressed that it is important to take advantage of digital technology to allow people the opportunity to engage, consult and to get more local residents to respond to public consultations.  However, opportunity should also be given to people who prefer not to use the digital platform available.  The Chief Executive further said that working with the third sector partners is paramount in their engagement with the residents of the Island and thereafter the Council can take advantage of their mapping exercise.

·     Reference was made that the headings of consultations needs to be more visible in their contents.  It was noted that some residents are unaware that they can participate in consultation on different issues within the Council.  An example was given that people are unaware that they can attend the Council’s Committee and the Town and Community Council meetings and especially if a local issue of concerns to residents within local areas are discussed.  The Chief Executive agreed that it is important that the heading of consultation needs to be more visible in their contents to attract public consultation.  He agreed that as part of the democracy process it is important that people have access to Town and Community Council meetings and the matter could be raised within the Standards Committee and the Town and Community Councils forum on a community based level.  


It was RESOLVED :-


·     To note the Public Participation Strategy for 2023/2028;

·     To recommend that the Executive approves the Isle of Anglesey County Council’s Public Participation Strategy, that the full Council adopts the Public Participation Strategy, that it is a live document, and it will be reviewed and updated regularly and will continue to build on our successes thus far;

·     To authorise the Head of Profession HR and Transformation in consultation with the Portfolio Holder - Corporate and Customer Experience to prepare the final document in accordance with the corporate format before uploading the document on the Council's website.


ACTION :-  To Invite the Town and Community Council Forum to discuss the role, purpose and contribution of town a community councils in promoting the engagement and contribution of the public when the Council is consulting on specific matters.


Supporting documents: