Priorities, plans, budget, social services, and civil life are subject to various consultation processes. Any new policy and initiative is built on equality assessment carried out by the equality office which challenges the specific department, checking to see if they have consultation and engagement plans.
The Council has developed a number of tools to involve and consult all citizens in the council's decision making process:
- The Consultation and Engagement Strategy helps practitioners to engage with residents and service users.
- The Swansea Voices Online Panel consists of a database of residents who are regularly consulted by the Council about its services and local issues. Its membership is continually refreshed to give as many people as possible the opportunity to take part. Recent areas of consultation have included the City Centre redevelopment and priorities for the Council’s budget.
- The Swansea Reputation Tracker is an ongoing telephone survey undertaken by the Council. Every other month 180 people are asked their opinion about the Council, the services it provides, Council staff and satisfaction with their local area. The information gathered each year is used to inform the Council’s service plans and is submitted as part of our performance monitoring processes.
In addition, the Council engages with the diversity of the population through diversity groups and forums, such as the 50+Network, BME Forum or LGBT Forum.
In order to be as representative as possible, the Council has developed a range of channels to involve people: Drop-in sessions – an opportunity for everyone to have their say in a more informal setting; Group visits – either a meeting or an informal discussion – depending on the group’s preference; Feedback via email –so that people can have their say without having to speak to the Council themselves; online surveys; Big Conversations with children and young people; Stakeholder / forum meetings.
Whilst developing the local cohesion strategy the Council organized adult focus groups - including both migrants, and people from quite far right groups in order to speak to those who may oppose the cohesion strategy.
Although there is no youth council, a budget is dedicated to consultations in schools where children can meet with different officials on various topics. Children and young people’s (CYP) participation is engaged by the CYP Participation team that acts as a central body identifying relevant groups and individuals that may be interested or benefit from participating in consultations. They also record and evaluate the impact of young people's involvement in opportunities provided/supported by the team.
In January 2017, a Big Conversation brought together 80 representatives from thirteen secondary schools across the city to discuss the Council’s budget proposals. The ‘Big conversation 2017’ focused on what it like is living in Swansea and gave local people a chance to comment on different aspects of life including education, the environment, health and housing and to rate them. The Big Conversation for 2018 is planned to tackle extremism.
Also, in their recruitment policies, the City and County of Swansea include an option to follow the principles of ‘positive action’ as outlined in the Equality Act 2010. This can be applied when a tie breaker situation arises between two (or more) candidates of equal merit and allows an employer to make an appointment based on a particular protected characteristic possessed by a candidate if there is evidence of an under-representation of a particular group within the workforce (e.g. a shortage of women at a senior level within the authority).