Let’s Talk – EHDC rethinks the way it communicates with the community

Friday, 24 May, 2019

East Hampshire District Council will go out and meet residents on their own patch as part of a new plan to increase engagement with the local community.

The council will attend local clubs, visit markets and meet with residents’ associations as it looks to get more feedback from local people.

More use will also be made of social media and meetings will be held to debate specific themes or local topics.

The new idea, called Let’s Talk, will replace the Community Forums, which have seen attendances fall over recent years.

Cllr Julie Butler, EHDC Deputy Leader, said: “This will give us a brand new way of engaging with the community.

“Things have moved on so much since the Community Forums were launched. That format does not work anymore, so I am proposing a new approach.

“We know that people have busy lives and yet we expect them to go from their day jobs and their busy home life to a meeting held in hall at 6.30pm in the evening. I think that’s naïve.

“We need to get out to them rather than expect them to come in to us.

“What we must do is reach everybody, we need to get to every walk of life”

To ensure that community engagement is as effective as possible the council will go to where residents already meet, such as toddler or parent groups, weekly markets or summer fairs.

Officers and councillors will identify different methods of communication to target specific demographic groups.

Events will be held on particular themes, for example services for older people, or when there is a pressing local issue.

An annual Question Time-style event will also be held with attendance from decision-makers from other local authorities and the council will actively take note of social media discussions to learn more about local concerns.