Local Area Research Fortnight LogoSharing stories as part of Local Area Research Fortnight 2015…

By Nicki Boothman, Corporate Research and Consultation Officer at Kirklees Council

“Early February I spotted a project on Involve called Nurturing Parents Programme, around bonding and attachment. A couple of years previous I had worked with colleagues in Early Years on the key parental messages for parents of children 5 and under, which involved a lot on bonding and attachment. Those colleagues in Early Years had since left, but I still had some of the source research, which I was able to share.

 I try to keep up to date with what is posted on Involve, it’s a good way to pick up what other services are doing in the district and the topics and activity that are being worked on. It helps with my general knowledge of local community engagement activity, but it also helps me to spot trends and cues in scanning the horizon for interesting approaches, best practise, making links etc. Involve helps to add to the rich picture of data we use to develop strategy and set priorities.”

That’s Jayne, one of my colleagues, on how she uses Involve.

Involve is an online tool everyone can access and add to – it’s signposted from our Kirklees Council homepage or go to www.kirklees.gov.uk/involve. There’s a searchable calendar of past, present and future activities, and a help section to get you started. People are responsible for adding and updating their own projects, so that by the time they are complete they’ll have shared key results and outcomes on the site. Each project gets listed on the calendar; when you click a title you get more info, like with this entry.

We designed it so that officers, community groups, residents, can all access it. People use Involve in different ways, from being a record of their team’s achievements and outcomes, to searching for opportunities to coordinate activities across organisations to save time and money, to seeing what projects are coming up near them that they might want to get involved in themselves.

Our Involving Communities framework sets out our partnership approach: key principles, what we are trying to achieve, and how. Involve is a key part of making this happen.

It’s not perfect – we sometimes hear about projects that aren’t on Involve but should be, and it takes a fair amount of supporting users to make the most of Involve. We get out and about visiting teams to talk about Involve and show them what it can do, and we email all our users our Entry of the Month. There are no big prizes but we like to think there’s a certain pride and prestige in winning! One of our previous EOTM winners Auntie Pams, has been shortlisted for a LARIA award this time.

We hope to see more activities and insight from teams and communities in 2015 so take a look at Involve if you’d like to see what’s coming up in Kirklees!