Cotswold District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council have received a joint award of £230,000 from the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities (DLUHC) towards improving digital engagement with residents.
This follows on from earlier funding awarded to Cotswold District Council in 2021 and to West Oxfordshire District Council last year under the Government’s ‘Proptech’ fund. Both Councils commissioned the Commonplace engagement platform to listen to communities and make better, more inclusive decisions.
Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council Andy Graham said, “I am delighted that we have received further funding to continue our work to engage more with our community. The Commonplace platform enabled us to ask people what our Council and Local Plans should focus on. We received a record number of responses from the community and what they have told us has been taken into account when drafting these two important plans and essentially setting the direction of the district.
“Our consultations have been transformed with this approach, with two of our recent consultations receiving Commonplace Awards for their innovative approach to engagement.
“The extra funding will enable us to continue with our engagement work, giving people a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all Council consultations on an engaging and easy-to-use platform.”
Leader of Cotswold District Council, Joe Harris added, “The Proptech funding has allowed us to engage in a meaningful way with our residents. The award-winning Your Cotswold, Your Plan consultation, which was hosted on Commonplace succeeded in gaining more than double the number of responses to the previous Local Plan consultation.
“Hosting the consultation on Commonplace enabled us to break the consultation down into areas that people care about, making it easier for residents to focus on what is important to them.
“I am pleased that we are able to continue this work to embed a better, digital approach to consultations into Cotswold District Council.”
The latest funding award is part of a continuous funding stream focused on exploring new approaches to processing, analysing and managing consultation feedback and improving the links between digital platforms to make the system more efficient and easier for planners and communities to engage.
The joint Cotswold and West Oxfordshire project is one of only nine across the country and will be taken forward over the next 12 months in partnership with DLUCH, other local authorities, Commonplace and other Proptech providers.