Community Engagement

Statement of Intent as to Community Engagement

Introduction

Hythe and Dibden Parish Council strongly believes that members of the community should be involved in decisions affecting them and their neighbourhood and in shaping the future of their Parish.

The Council has developed this Statement of Intent with an air of setting out an approach to engagement with its residents and partners.

It recognizes that the services it provides must reflect the needs of its parishioners and the locality.

Aims and Objectives

Aims
The Council aims to build on the way it engages and consults with its residents and partners on important issues by ensuring that:
  • They are fully informed, consulted and involved.
  • They are all included in the engagement process, including the hardest to reach groups.
  • Their views are heard and taken into account to develop, enhance and improve services; the environment and the quality of life for residents.
Objectives
The objectives of the Statement are to:

    - Improve the quality and delivery of services within the Parish.

    - Improve, plan and shape the future of the Parish according to local needs and priorities.

    - Enhance the wellbeing of the Parish.

    - Use engagement to inform decision making, ensuring decisions are fit for purpose and meet the needs of the Parish

    - Be a stronger, more active and cohesive Parish.

Who will we engage with?

The Council will engage with all or some of the community dependent on the issues under consideration. The individuals, groups and organizations the Council will engage with are as follows:-

    Residents,
    Community Groups, 
    Residents Associations,
    Young people,
    Older people, 
    Service Users,
    Key Stakeholders,
    Statutory Sector,
    Voluntary Sector,
    Private Sector,
    Visitors,
    Council staff,
    Visitors to the Parish

How we will communicate?

The Council believes in a transparent government and will make available the following information.

· The Parish Council website contains a vast amount of local information and is regularly updated.

· Council Agendas and Minutes are available on the Website and from the Parish Office.

· Notice-boards – Council Agendas and other local information are displayed on the five Parish notice-boards spread around the Parish.

· All Council and Committee meetings are open to the public and all have a fifteen minute participation period.

· Parish Picture, the Council's quarterly newsletter is distributed to all households in the Parish and is also available on the Parish Website and from the Parish Office.

· Information leaflets are available on the Website and at the Parish Office.

· Annual Report – The Annual Report which includes the Chairman's report, highlights of the past year, extracts of the last audited accounts, and current budget is distributed to all households within the Parish, copies are also available on the Website and from the Parish Office.

Community Involvement

The Council will use a variety of methods to seek the involvement and views of interested parties including –

· Surveys – this will include both online and hard copy surveys.

· Public Meetings with interested parties.

· Special edition newsletters.

· Open days.

· Visits to schools and other groups

· Creation of working or working with specialist groups e.g. young persons, older persons, disability groups.

· Invitations to Council/Committee Meetings.

Dealing with Formal Representations

Any formal representation received will be presented to the next available meeting of the Committee, etc dealing with the issue.

Involvement in Partnership

The Council is committed to working in partnership with other public authorities, private and voluntary sectors. To this end members of the Council are represented on a number of other organisations, including –

Age Concern
Butts Ash Community Association
Community First – New Forest
Dibden Allotment Charity
Friends of Forest Front
Hampshire Association of Local Councils
Hythe and Dibden Twinning Association
Hythe and Dibden Woodland and Waterside Group
Hythe Hospital Working Group
Hythe Youth Club
Hythe Ferry User Group
New Forest Sports Council
New Forest Consultative Panel
New Forest Association of Local Councils
New Forest District Council Liaison Group
New Forest District Council Environmental Protection Committee
New Forest Road Safety Council
St. John's Hall Management Committee
The HANDY Trust
Waterside Citizens Advice Bureau 
Waterside Heritage Trust
Waterside Joint Councils Group
Waterside Youth Steering Group

Role of Members and Officers in the Process

Local Councillors are the elected representatives of their communities. By having a base in their communities they are accessible and will get to know what issues affect people. Councillors will develop an understanding of the needs and hopes of local people through engaging with them and providing representations. Therefore their community leadership provides them with a major input into the process.

The Clerk to the Council will be responsible for the co-valuation of the engagement activities and maintaining links with interested parties implementing agreed actions.

Specific Areas for Community Involvement

The Council will endeavour to engage with all interested parties when major issues are considered, examples of the areas where the Council will involve the communities are as follows:-

· Implementation of the RevitalHythe Action Plan.

· Implementation/Refurbishment of play areas.

· Major Planning Applications.

· Introduction of new services which increase the precept by more than 10%.

· Proposed major changes to services.