How we can best communicate change as we plan for more infrastructure to reach net zero targets.
Martin McCrink, Managing Partner at Copper joins infrastructure journalist and commentator Anthony Oliver on The Infrastructure Podcast. The podcast hosts a series of conversations with some of the key leaders and influencers across the UK infrastructure sector.
The podcast draws on Martin’s expertise and the projects which Copper is involved in. To discuss tactics of tackling and shedding a light on not only industry specific challenges and successes. But also, the wider issues facing the sector. Listen to the episode to find out more about:
- The challenges around communicating infrastructure
- Engaging communities where change is on the horizon
- The speed of communications in the digital world
- Building political support for projects
- The challenges consultation presents
- Redefining community based on data
Some key examples discussed in the podcast include HS2 project, London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone scheme and the latest debate over planning after the government vowed to give local communities choice and the power to veto projects they don’t like.
Interested in finding out more?
Also, if you have a suggestion of someone who would make an interesting guest on The Infrastructure Podcast, get in touch with Anthony today.
Our very own Chris Weatherburn was delighted to be joined by three expert panellists to discuss some of the challenges facing the rail industry, and what some of the solutions could be.
Our panellists were:
- David Worsley – Rail Strategy Manager – Transport for the North
- Matthew Lee – Partner – Winder Phillips Associates
- Kara Wood – Head of Performance & Customer Relationship Management – Network Rail
- Chris Weatherburn – Associate Director – Copper Consultancy (host)
Among the topics discussed were the proposed cancellations and delays to sections of High Speed Two (HS2), net zero aspirations for the rail industry, and scope for improvement in electrifying the rail network across the UK.
Being aware of some of the challenges facing the industry, it was fantastic to hear the panel expressing optimism towards the future of the rail industry: advocating on behalf of projects such as the Trans-Pennine Route Upgrades, Northern Powerhouse Rail, the reversal of some of the Beeching cuts and the re-opening of smaller stations and lines. It was also good to hear the panel discussing the merits of the Elizabeth Line and opportunities offered by Great British Rail (GBR) in removing bureaucracy, increasing customer service and value for money.
Tom Morrison and Annabel John joined the Place North West Podcast to discuss all things consultations.
The conversation went through the do’s, the don’ts, tips on best practice, and how our work with HyNet provided huge consultation returns.
But perhaps most importantly, they both explained why focusing on engagement rather than the consultation process is far more important for people looking to develop proposals.
What is consultation?
As Annabel explains in the pod, consultation is a process that involves getting feedback from the public on a proposal. This feedback is then used to shape the design process. Put simply, it allows people to ‘have their say’ on what a proposal should look like.
Often consultations are statutory, or at least mandatory, and therefore required to happen before any proposals can be delivered.
But consultations are only successful if people engage with them. Without feedback from the people you want opinions from, proposals cannot be shaped effectively which can lead to problems further down the road.
Engage, Engage, Engage
The key to this, is engagement.
Any consultation, be it for a development, a policy, or a change of work practice, needs to generate enough truly meaningful feedback in order it to be effective. Therefore, engaging audiences is vital.
As Tom points out, “without engaging people, there is no point in consulting.”
But how do you drive engagement? Firstly, Annabel suggests looking outside of your scope and identifying audiences that might take an interest in your plans but who may not directly be impacted.
Often there will be interest groups, or organisations with compatible aims that can be used to generate helpful feedback and insight, which can improve proposals. Utilising these stakeholder groups can be invaluable in achieving community buy-in and delivering long lasting plans.
Elsewhere, Tom advocates the use of video and social media. Video and animation in particular can take complex topics and break them down into an easy-to-understand way, allowing people to build a better understanding of your ambitions, and therefore more likely to provide meaningful and useful feedback.
Ultimately, making sure you’re speaking to people in a way that generates a genuine two-way dialogue and encourages thoughts and opinion to be shared is vital to success. Without engagement, consultations simply won’t work and a huge opportunity to build community and stakeholder support will be missed.
Why not listen and let us know your thoughts?
In the true spirit of consultation, why not have a listen to the podcast and let us know what you think?
As Tom and Annabel explain, Copper works with clients from across the public and private sectors and have helped organisations on a variety of engagement and consultation strategies.
If there’s any particular issue you’d like to explore or get more information on, get in touch with Tom on firstname.lastname@example.org