What is a people's panel?
The Northumberland people’s panel is a representative consultative body of local residents, used to help identify local priorities and to consult service users and non-users on specific issues. It gives residents a chance to have their say about life in Northumberland and local public services.
Using a people's panel can overcome issues relating to duplication, response rates, cost, and time, and helps promote local democracy by encouraging residents to have a bigger say in matters of concern. The results of these consultations are used to identify key issues and inform decision-making.
How does it work?
- The panel will be contacted up to four times a year, mainly using postal questionnaires although there may be additional telephone surveys, focus groups, or online surveys.
- Members of the panel do not receive payment for participation in panel activities, but will be reimbursed for any travel expenses if attending focus groups or forums.
- The panel will not replace other forms of public consultation. A people's panel is not always the best way to gather views on specific issues, but it is a good way of gaining community views.
- Regular feedback and action taken will be available on the Northumberland County Council website.
- Each Northumberland County Council department is given the opportunity to include questions in the survey.
- A small number of questions are repeated in each survey that takes place to track trends of people’s perceptions of the council. These are similar to questions included in the place survey carried out in 2009.
- SMSR (social and market strategic research) have been commissioned to recruit and manage the panel.
- Members will usually stay on the panel for three years, but can opt out at any time. The panel membership will be refreshed with 330 new members each year and more frequently if necessary.
- Information provided by panel members will be used only for research and consultation purposes and the published results will not give out details of individuals.
The Northumberland people's panel is a pool of 1,100 residents, chosen to be representative of the county’s population in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, and geographical area.More information and results about the Northumberland people’s panel is available here