OPINION: POST COVID-19, DIGITAL CONSULTATION IS HERE TO STAY
News of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout has all of us feeling a bit more positive this December and, whisper it, it feels possible that by Spring 2021 social distancing rules may be relaxed and life will start to return to normal!
When social distancing measures were first introduced, we were among the first to adapt our consultation approach to be ‘remote first’. We launched our bespoke range of digital consultation tools Concilio Connects: Your Say, developing bespoke websites, exhibition webinars, online surveys, posted materials and social media advertising, all of which ensure that communities can still have their say.
But as we contemplate a return to normality, will public consultation and community engagement return to a flyer delivery and an in-person exhibition where people can view proposals and make comments for a few hours on a weekday? We don’t think so.
While it is undoubtedly true that face-to-face events and public exhibitions will be a vital part of any consultation strategy, the expectation from local authorities, communities and developers will be to provide more just as we have throughout this pandemic.
One of the best things to come out of digital consultation is that you reach a much wider group of people. People who would never have the time to attend a traditional event but will click on a social media advert, take two minutes to view a website and complete a survey, or tune into a webinar event while they are cooking dinner!
As a result, you get better feedback, find supporters, bring more people together and genuinely create better places. Worries about digital access are also overcome with posted materials and freephone numbers.
This means digital is here to stay and even when Covid-19 finally comes to an end, a blend of both traditional and modern techniques of engagement will become the norm when developing any consultation strategy.
At Concilio we embrace this change. Our growing team thinks creatively, we are refining our technology every day to be more effective and we take an all-round strategic approach to built environment communications.
If we can assist with any project then please do get in touch by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 3890 7308.
Nathan Parsad is an Account Director at Concilio and leads on the development of our ever growing range of digital consultation products.