Statement of Community Involvement Review

Statement of Community Involvement Review - Consultation Draft

4 - How we will consult

4.1 The Council will let people know about new planning policies in a number of ways:

Untitled document (4)Mail-Outs - we will write to or email anyone who has asked to be kept informed. People can register on our online consultation portal to receive updates at:

 Online - we will put information on our website and use Social Media to keep people up to date

 Local Press - we will advertise consultations in a local newspaper

4.2 Whenever there is a formal consultation stage, the Council will publicise this through press releases and the website. The Council will seek to maximise its use of email and the website to advise the public of consultation documents and encourage the use of online consultations. Paper copies will be available for inspection at Council Offices and, where necessary, other appropriate locations (e.g. relevant libraries). Anyone who is unable to access the internet can request a paper copy to be made available in their local library. The Council will receive comments via its online consultation portal, email or by post. At some formal stages of the process, those making representations will be encouraged to use the official forms (provided by the Planning Inspectorate) for making comments, although all comments submitted, where appropriate, will still be registered. Representations made by telephone cannot be registered as formal representations - any comments made verbally must be confirmed in writing. We are unable to accept anonymous comments.

4.3 The Council uses its online consultation portal for all public consultations on planning policy issues. People can register, select their areas of interest, then simply log on to use the portal to view or comment on consultations, view responses to closed consultations or update their contact details. People making comments using the portal can start their comments and come back to them later - the portal will save them and will send an automatic acknowledgement once comments have been finalised and submitted. The consultation document and any other relevant documents will be available on the portal. Once a consultation has closed, all comments received will be made available on the portal. Those who have registered on the portal will receive email updates about the documents they are interested in. The Council also actively encourages people to use our online consultation portal to reduce costs and paper use, save taxpayers money and help protect the environment.

4.4 Council officers will enter all comments received by email or post into the online consultation portal to make it easier for us to assess responses, publish the results of a public consultation, and send comments to Inspectors/Examiners at the independent assessment stage. Inputting comments into the online portal relies on the interpretation of them by Council officers. This can be very time-consuming and cause delay to the Local Plan process. Where long and complex representations are submitted on paper or by email, an administration fee may be charged when they have to be entered manually by officers. Based on previous experience, it is anticipated that the vast majority of representations would not be affected by fee charges. In order to avoid any mis-interpretation or mis-understanding of your representations, or administrative charges, we would encourage people to use the online consultation portal themselves.

4.5 Unless an email address is provided in postal responses, the Council's online consultation portal will generate letters for any further communications. The Council may receive more than one letter from one household, but each letter is treated as an individual response. This will mean that individual letters will be sent to people from the same household who have all replied by post to a consultation.

4.6 The consultation and participation carried out for different documents will vary depending on the nature of the documents being prepared. Table 1 shows the methods of consultation that could be used. The Council will use one or more of the methods identified as being appropriate, depending on the type, nature, context and stage in the process of the consultation concerned. In the event that face-to-face consultation methods are not possible for whatever reason, the Council will seek to make fuller use of alternative methods of consultation and engagement.

4.7 Formal and informal consultations will be carried out by staff from the Strategic Planning team, in conjunction with the Council's Communications team who have relevant expertise and resources in delivering public consultation and involvement.

Table 1: Methods of consultation to consider


Useful for:

For us to consider:


Advert/leaflet in Local Paper

Raising levels of awareness and publicising specific opportunities to get involved. Reaching a wider audience

The timescale needed to ensure availability at the beginning of a consultation period

Costs of advertising/printing/delivery

Council Website - online consultation

Allowing access to latest information and provide opportunities to contribute electronically

How to coordinate and work together with TDC Communications team,

inputting resources

Once information is available online, it is low cost. Will need GIS expertise for any maps to be made available - time implication

Council Social Media

Raising levels of awareness and reaching a wider audience

Signposting people to the relevant documents and information online

We must make it clear how people should comment on a consultation document - comments under social media posts would not be considered as responses to a consultation

Staff time and availability in the Communications team in both posting content and responding to comments/questions if necessary/appropriate

Documents available for inspection

Allowing everyone the opportunity to comment on draft documents. Documents will be made available at Council Offices and local libraries on request

It must be clear how and when people should respond. Information should be accessible to all in terms of mobility, understanding and time available

Staff time may be needed to answer questions and collate any responses. Cost of printing

Exhibitions/Drop in Sessions

Provides an opportunity for two way dialogue. Accessible to broad audience

Information should be accessible to all in terms of mobility, understanding and times available

Preparation costs, display materials and time needed can be significant. Additional staff time needed if exhibition is manned. Venue costs for hire.


Determining attitudes and identifying needs for improvement. Gaining views from people who may not otherwise express an opinion

Surveys can reap a greater number of responses

Specialist software needed to assist with analysis and reporting of responses. Manual inputting of paper/emailed responses can be time consuming

Public Meetings

Gaining first hand views regarding a specific area

The audience, audience availability (e.g. daytime or evening) and any restrictions, time available for consultation

Can be less inclusive as not everyone gets chance to speak, so don't always get a wide representation of views

Costs of venue hire can be significant, staff time needed to prepare any material


Bringing together representatives from different sectors of the community to be more actively involved in scoping documents and identifying priorities

Events require significant preparation and organisation. However they can be very useful for discussing important and/or difficult issues

Time is needed for preparation - specialist skills may be required. High staffing levels likely for facilitating. Costs of venue hire can be considerable

Online engagement

Provides an opportunity for two way dialogue.

Sessions can be organised at various times of day to maximise participation

The number of people attending an online session for it to be meaningful. Whether to hold several general sessions and/or sessions covering a particular topic

Staff availability - may need one or two to host/present/answer questions and a third to monitor 'chat'