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Engagement and Inclusion

In the past consultation especially with the general public was seen as rather a nuisance and something to go through the motions with often on a very unrepresentative basis with many groups excluded. All this has changed in recent years and now the need to consult is integrated – often backed by regulation and law in planning and policy development. This is in part because it has been realised that engagement can lead to better outcomes – technical experts don’t have exclusive insight into human priorities and cultures. There are many examples of where things have gone badly wrong as a result ranging from crime-ridden housing estates to increasing levels of illiteracy.

My work focuses on improving this situation via innovative approaches to engagement ranging from designing a toolkit to enable communities to create their consultation plans through the Temple Engagement Toolkit (which can be found here) to writing a course for transport professionals (which can be found here) as well as practical exercises.

Improving the interaction between gypsies and travellers with the NHS

The SE Essex Health Authority wanted to understand how to improve the health of gypsies and travellers.


Travellers with diabetes were recruited to discuss health issues with the men who were reluctant to talk about their health problems especially to people outside of their community.


The results led to changes in health service deliveries including portable health records, use of mobile services and new systems for making appointments

Leicester City Council - participatory budgeting

A representative group of local people met over three weekends to decide priorities for spending discretionary funds.


The results were presented to Councillors who had previously agreed to accept the results which included spending more on libraries and charging more for parking.

For Oldham BC local people were involved in explaining what needed to be done to increase use of local parks.  Working with Groundwork community plans were introduced resulting in higher footfall including by school children walking to school and girls’ participation in sport.

Co-design for improvements to local parks 

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