Headlines: November 3rd, 2009

The country’s largest local authority has launched a website which details all the public consultations it has run and how they have influenced council decisions. The Birmingham Be Heard consultation database brings together for the first time information about what consultations are planned as well as those that have taken place, what people have said and what impact their views have had on decision-making.

The web-based database has been developed for Be Birmingham, the city’s local strategic partnership, by the City Council’s corporate policy and performance team. It currently holds information on 170 consultations carried out by the council and other partner organisations. They range from citywide consultations, such as the Annual Opinion Survey, measuring people’s satisfaction with local public services, to smaller, more specific area or interest-based consultations. These include one in which small groups of children were asked what sort of play facilities they would like to see in their area.

The council says the database is easy to use and incorporates an introductory video on how to get started. Information can be then found by searching in a number of ways. Residents can also sign up to receive automatic e-mail alerts when consultations they are interested in have been published. Paul Tilsley, who chairs Be Birmingham and is deputy leader of the city council said: “Listening to the voice of local people as part of our decision-making processes is a priority for the city. The Be Heard consultation database is a valuable new resource, not only for the staff of our partner organisations, but also for members of the public to find out what impact their views have in helping to improve public services.”