Launceston Town Council
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Community Engagement Strategy

Community engagement  is concerned with giving local people a voice and involving them in decisions which affect them and their community. This may include individuals, voluntary and community organisations as well as other public sector bodies.

It provides an opportunity for local people to talk to the Council about their aspirations and/or needs in their community and neighbourhood. It allows the Council to consult with and inform people about what services it provides, how its priorities and policies are determined and how well it is performing.

DEFINING THE COMMUNITY - Launceston Town Council will consult and engage with residents, local authorities, visitors, and any individual or organisation which is able to influence or make positive changes to the town.  This includes neighbouring parish councils within the Community Area Network, Cornwall Council, the police, the fire and rescue service, health authorities, schools, community groups, the Chamber of Commerce, and other locally-based charities and not-for-profit organisations.  This will encompass all age groups regardless of physical ability, gender, religion or ethnic origin.

PROVISION OF INFORMATION TO THE COMMUNITY – Launceston Town Council will make information available to the community on its work, including agendas, minutes, Annual Reports and any other publications, through:

The Annual Town Meeting

Consultative meetings called on matters that need community involvement (for example Grammers Park play area and allotments)

Regular council and council committee meetings open to the public and press

This list is not exclusive and will be amended from time to time to reflect the nature of information available and the forms in which information can be transmitted

Information can be obtained through:

A personal visit, phone call or email to the Town Council Offices

Town Notice Boards

The Council’s website www.launceston-tc.co.uk

Facebook

The Town Council file at Launceston Library

Press releases and news items in the local media

At every meeting of Launceston Town Council a period of up to fifteen minutes is set aside for electors to ask questions of, or make comments to, the council.

The Town Council has adopted the requirements detailed in the Freedom of Information Act and the public can request sight of any council documentation (with the exception of Private and Confidential items).  Most of these documents are readily accessible on the council website, but can also be obtained (for a small fee to cover administration) from the Town Council Offices.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR FORMAL REPRESENTATIONS TO THE COUNCIL - The Council will encourage formal and informal input from groups/organisations/individuals for items to be discussed at Committee or Council meetings as long as these are submitted to the Town Clerk at least five working days in advance of the meeting.

INVOLVEMENT IN PARTNERSHIPS  -  Launceston Town Council will work with any and all partnerships that influence or work towards making positive changes in the town or any other individual, group or organisation that requires support in order to bring about such influence or change. The Council already works in partnership with Cornwall Council and will continue to look for new opportunities for partnership working.

Launceston Town Council encourages and supports public meetings organised by the police, the health authority, Cornwall Council, local campaigning groups and all other organisations which are working for the benefit of the town.

Launceston Town Council aims to show that the Council and its Officers have the confidence and ambition to move beyond the traditional ideas of its roles and responsibilities for the benefit of the town.

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE – The Council has an agreed complaints procedure adopted by the Town Council. Complaints can be made by letter, telephone, email or personal visit to the Town Hall.  All complaints received will be acknowledged within three working days followed by a further letter advising of the outcome of the complaint.

Linking with other Council Policies – The Community Engagement Strategy will be an integral part of any future policies or strategies and to any revisions of existing policies and strategies.

REVIEW – The strategy will be reviewed regularly (not less than bi-annually) and amended as necessary based on accepted good practice at the time.

CONCLUSION – The Community Engagement Strategy assists in improving communication between Launceston Town Council and the wider community.  This enables the Council to better understand the needs and aspirations of local residents/groups, and in turn, to facilitate appropriate projects to meet those needs and aspirations.

ACTION PLAN

Raise awareness of the consultation processes - promote it through the Launceston Link, the website, local media. 

Identify minority/hard to reach groups and identify channels of contact and consultation. These groups are often the forgotten few.  Identifying them will ensure they are included in consultation processes. 

Identify consultation/focus groups - Identify members of the town with specific skills who can be consulted on specialist subjects.

Identify the benefits of consultation - Identify whether there is a real opportunity for people to influence decisions. No consultation should be undertaken unless the outcome can be influenced.  Unless this is possible consultation will be meaningless and residents will become disinterested in the process.

 Agree methods of feedback to residents and partners and ensure this is adhered to and includes details of the use of information gained. This will keep all parties involved in the process and knowledgeable about it.  Ensure outcomes of consultations are used to inform decisions and policies.  Use the outcome of consultations to inform decision making and shape policies.

Review outcome of key consultations - Review consultation outcomes annually to highlight any failings in the processes.  This will enable identification of any changes and amendments required to the strategy.

All consultations will be undertaken to judge the best possible outcome for residents, locality and the environment. 

CONTACTING THE TOWN COUNCIL

The Town Council offices are open to the public from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.  Full contact details of councillors and officers can be found on the Town Hall notice boards, at the Library, in the quarterly newsletter Launceston Link and on the website www.launceston-tc.co.uk .  Contact can be made in person, by letter, by phone or by email (admin@launceston-tc.co.uk).  Councillors can be contacted through the Town Council offices or via personal email or phone.  Councillors hold monthly surgeries as part of the Market in the town square.  As they are well known local people who live in and around the town, Councillors can be contacted easily on a daily basis.

This Community Engagement Strategy was adopted by Launceston Town Council at the Full Council meeting held on 15 September 2009, and reviewed and approved on 10 December 2013. To be reviewed in December 2015.