Suffolk County Council is responsible for delivering a wide range of vital public services to and for the people of Suffolk. It’s what we’re here to do and what we’re passionate about. These services cost a lot of public money (around £500 million a year), which has to be invested wisely and in ways that deliver the best possible outcomes.
To make important decisions about how services are delivered and money is invested, Suffolk County Council consults and engages with residents, service users, businesses, partners and our staff. It’s the right thing to do, helps us to understand what people feel and, all things considered, leads to better and more informed decisions being made.
Why we've a Consultation and Engagement Charter
It sets out our commitment to consult and engage with people. It also sets out, in broad terms, what we mean by consultation and engagement, how we will consult and engage, why, what we will do with that information and how we will be transparent about it.
The Charter is intended to be used equally across all parts of Suffolk County Council - anywhere where we need to consult and engage be it Adult Services, Childrens Services, Fire and Rescue - any service that we provide.
All of these diverse areas of work are taken into account when writing this Charter. Each consultation is unique and the charter will provide guidance that is flexible enough to be adapted to any given situation.
We want to be an organisation that regularly involves people in our day to day work and, when necessary, the difficult decisions we must make. We want to be a listening council. We don’t want to be an organisation that makes difficult decisions on our own, and then tells people about them. Consultation and engagement must be audience-focused, and not rely on a ‘one size fits all’ approach which is easier to deliver but often ineffective.
The aim of this Charter is to make it easy for people to know what to expect when we ask them to give views on a subject. Our commitment is to be consistent throughout the consultation process and to follow best practice, as identified within this Charter.
The Charter has been co-created with input from consultation and engagement specialists, from both the centre of the organisation and the diverse teams that deliver consultation and engagement activity across the varied services within the Council. Dedicated consultation staff are also members of the Consultation Institute, the nationally recognised industry lead.