Hosting workshops to encourage users to do it online

19 April 2017
Daniel Bradley

OpusConsult takes away the burden of having to manually type in public representations yourself, saving valuable time and money. To get the most out of this it is important to make sure that the public are aware of their ability to add their representations themselves directly into the system.

To make sure you are getting the most out of your software, we have produced three useful guides on what you can do to increase the number of web representations you receive, and in turn reduce those which you must enter manually. This is the third and final of those guides.

Some of our council clients have in the past hosted workshops to coincide with the initiation of a major consultation. Such an event appeals to those interested in getting involved in the consultation, but also presents an excellent opportunity to encourage your most enthusiastic consultees to use your online system to submit representations rather than using the classic methods.

These workshops or roadshows could be open to all members of the public, or you could aim them specifically at agents as they will have a particular interest in this topic as it is their occupation.

Some tips on running a successful workshop include:

  • Make sure it is not a lecture, encourage workshop ‘students’ to get involved by planning out activities for them to try things out themselves

  • Don’t worry if there aren’t too many people there, smaller workshops are always more effective

  • Use the structure of explain, exercise and debrief (and don’t be afraid to take breaks)

  • Make sure you have a whiteboard or flipchart

  • Encourage the attendees to go away and do something with what they have learned, homework-style

This is all we have to say about workshops, as we understand that they will not work for everyone particularly due to the costliness in both time and money. Workshops that you choose to initiate will largely be unique to you, as having more than one objective to them will make them more worthwhile. A workshop simply on ‘how to use the online consultation system’ may seem silly, so try to tie it in with other objectives you wish to accomplish as a department or council.

Thank you for reading our final of three guides on improving web consultation engagement, and remember you can reread any of the previous two in the blog area of our website.

Looking to improve the way you manage planning consultations?  Wanting to make better use of the web for online consultations? Interested in how our system could help you? Why not request a free demo of OpusConsult. Just get in touch!