Corporate Plan 2023-2027
How we developed this plan – Community Engagement
Community engagement is at the heart of how we develop our corporate plan at Test Valley. It provides us a with a rich understanding of what matters most to our residents and helps us gain a unique insight into community aspirations. Our approach to this piece of public engagement was delivered over two phases:
Phase one: Survey
We invited residents to express their views on several themes, that focussed on services and products provided by the council, and on how we can play a role in helping to improve residents’ quality of life.
Councillors and council staff visited a range of community events and markets as well as village and school fetes, so that residents could meet them in person and share their thoughts. We engaged with over 1,500 people. 1,458 completed the survey.
Phase two: Deliberative engagement
Survey results provide a strong evidence base of headline issues. To delve deeper into the survey responses and get underneath the issues raised, we worked with the Involve Foundation to host a series of deliberative workshops during November 2022. These involved around 100 residents (approximately 35 at each of four events) reflecting the demographic make-up of residents in the borough. At the events we invited residents to discuss: What makes communities work well as thriving places, where people can live fulfilled lives?, and, What role should the council be playing to help make this a reality in Test Valley?
Through facilitated debate, sharing their lived experience and considering a range of evidence (including the survey results), participants developed 12 statements. These were developed to help us consider where we can add value as we set our strategic priorities for the next four years and beyond. This feedback, combined with the survey results and more focused discussions, provided a robust evidence base and enabled extensive discussion and analysis with councillors and staff, to create the strategic priorities that are in this plan.
What makes communities work well as thriving places, where people can live fulfilled lives?
What role should the council be playing to make this a reality in Test Valley?
A summary of what our residents said:
Building thriving communities, so that people want to stay living in the area.
A sense of belonging, where they are invited to participate and be involved in playing their part in their communities.
- Support volunteering and make it easier for people to take part. Build upon the experience of the pandemic where a new community spirit was created and not to let this fade away
- Be accessible and reach out to the community. Enable residents to become more involved in the decisions that affect them, by sharing a common vision and goals within their community
- Focus on improving the local economy, recognising that transport and infrastructure are an issue, particularly in rural areas.
Making the most of existing facilities that bring the community together, where people can meet.
- Make sure that town centres, as central locations, are accessible, safe, attractive and offer a diverse and affordable programme of events, which engage and appeal to all ages
- Make sure that community facilities are affordable and accessible, and offer usable, well-maintained, multi-purpose spaces
- Provide clear communication and information for residents and groups about what is available.
Protecting local wildlife and nature for the future, whilst also providing access to local green spaces and parks:
- Conserve green spaces and nature for future generations, getting the right balance between access and protection
- Value outdoor spaces as places to exercise, look after mental wellbeing and to meet others
- Live in an environmentally-responsible way, to make sure that we tackle the climate emergency and reduce emissions
Valuing and celebrating inclusivity and diversity, creating a welcoming environment for people to take part in and value as a community:
- Provide engagement opportunities that offer a voice for all and encourage cohesion, belonging, shared values and good communication - so that people know what is happening in their community
- Promote opportunities to celebrate cultural diversity with communities, using arts and cultural programmes
- Value opportunities that bring people together to meet, such as events, cafes and community groups