Consulting on a new health and social care hub in Glasgow
Public consultation about a proposed health and social care hub has gone ahead despite physical distancing restrictions. A dedicated website, feedback forms and live web chats have allowed the community to find out more and give their views.
hub West Scotland (a private sector development company) and Orbit Communications (a private communications consultancy company) worked in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership and Glasgow Life, to seek feedback from local people to inform a planning application for the development of a new health and social care hub in Parkhead.
What we did
A dedicated website was established to inform the local community of current plans for the hub and offer opportunities for them to share their views. This website included a video tour of the proposed building and information about the services available. Local people could share their views through online feedback forms. Paper copies of the forms could also be requested by phone or email.
Two live web chat events were arranged to allow people to ask questions or share their views with the online team in real time. Advertising flyers including information about the events were distributed to the community a week in advance of the first event via social media. Hard copies of the flyers were distributed in advance of the second event.
The web chats took place between 3pm and 8pm on two Thursdays in July and August 2020.
What worked well
Orbit Communications has experience of working with statutory bodies to design online consultations and their knowledge and expertise proved valuable. Having a dedicated website allowed the consultation to take place digitally while physical distancing restrictions were in place. It also provided opportunities to contribute at a time suitable for individuals. The chat system also provided real-time answers to the community's questions.
By distributing a physical flyer before the second date for consultation, the event attracted a greater number of participants. These flyers were dropped into people's letterboxes and provided clear and concise information about the consultation and how the local community could share their views. It also served as a visual reminder to get involved at a time that was convenient to them. A QR code was also included on the flyer which generated some basic quantitative data about how people were accessing the site.
Demographic information shared suggests that participants belonged to a broad age range and that digital methods are likely to continue to add value alongside physical meetings. Over 75% of participants accessed the consultation via their phones. 13 people completed the online feedback form. 11 people benefited from the hard copies of the feedback forms which were available, helping us to reach a wider audience than if only online options were available.
The architect is using the feedback to complete the pre-consultation report. Comments included thoughts on the number of parking spaces and questions were asked around the future adaptability of the proposals.
People from the local community were also thankful for an extensive consultation:
"Thanks for taking on board previous public comments"
"Good to see the community and service users' opinions having been taken on board"
On reflection, the group could have promoted the event more effectively before the first round of consultation. We advertised the first web chat in the local press and through established stakeholder networks. Ahead of the second event we physically distributed paper flyers to local properties and through the post. The second event attracted more participants, suggesting this approach was more effective at reaching a wider audience.
Given the range of questions raised, in addition to the web chat team, a number of staff from a range of services had to be contactable to respond to questions about the services they deliver.
Some data about participants was collected - including gender, postcode and age range - but it was not comprehensive. Future consultations will collect more comprehensive equality monitoring data to ensure we are reaching a diverse range of participants.
Photo credit: Parkhead Hub