Bath and Northeast Somerset Council has an ambitious target to become net zero by 2030. Understanding the critical part transport plays in the region’s carbon emissions. Bath’s ‘Journey to Net-Zero’ set out to identify the transport measures needed over the short, medium, and long term to deliver its ambition and the needs of the community.
To get the initiative off the ground, the Council needed to make a case for the project. To generate widespread, representative participation in the public consultation process.
While a high-profile project for Bath and Northeast Somerset Council, it was unknown outside of the organisation. Therefore had no momentum among target groups. It was also critical the consultation was inclusive and had the support of hard-to-reach groups traditionally disengaged with the Council’s priorities.
COVID added a further layer of complexity, forcing restrictions on public gatherings, immediately ruling out face-to-face engagement opportunities.
Our priority was introducing the project to the widespread community and instigating insightful conversations with the general public. This included hard-to-reach groups, and stakeholders to give them a voice and demonstrate advocacy for the project.
Our content and online strategy focused on creating a compelling, accessible narrative around the council’s vision for net zero. We helped to remove barriers to engagement and participation.
We began by developing an audience-focused narrative to tell a compelling story around the project. The narrative formed the backbone of communications and engagement. Assets were designed to appeal to a diverse audience, including an animation, ‘fast facts’ visuals and targeted content.
Online consultation reached all pockets of the community using targeted social media channels. A thought-provoking, sharable content programme maximised our reach. The communications prompted peer-led support for the consultation and vision.
Further engagement opportunities were created via public and stakeholder webinars.
The consultation secured engagement and input from a broad audience. They were representative of the community served by Bath and Northeast Somerset Council. More than 1,000 responses over a one-month period that reflected the needs and priorities of a wide community base. These responses included groups that are usually under-represented. This insight was used to help the organisation confidently shape a range of solutions.