Defra / Halcrow / District Council
IMS Consulting teamed up with Halcrow to put in a joint bid for the coastal change project. Halcrow delivers planning, design and management services for developing infrastructure and buildings worldwide. They contribute to the construction, operation and maintenance of the built environment, and the protection, enhancement and maintenance of the natural environment. The funding body is The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which is responsible for UK environmental protection and the integration of environmental policies across the government and internationally. The end client is a regional District Council, who received funding from Defra to look into the potential solutions to coastal erosion in their local area. The Councl is responsible for 58 towns and parishes in the South East of England.
To engage with multiple stakeholder groups in the South East of England on the issues of coastal erosion and climate change.
The coastline of Suffolk is continually changing, with the area experiencing some of the most dramatic losses of land in the country through coastal erosion. Research undertaken by various government agencies has indicated areas in this region where loss of housing, business properties, tourist attractions and areas of natural beauty will occur over the next one hundred years.
Defra has allocated a pot of funding for local councils in order that they can consult communities on what measures should be taken to help them adapt to coastal change. A Suffolk-based District Council contracted IMS Consulting and Halcrow to deliver an online and offline stakeholder engagement programme, to first educate and then consult the affected groups.
What did IMS do?
A comprehensive stakeholder engagement programme iwas delivered within the region, with an online engagement hub acting as the first post of call for an online and offline consultation process.
The online hub consists of a resource library, multimedia learning tools, discussion forums, interactive surveys and a news feed which, combined, engages and consults the various stakeholder groups. The hub provides easily digestible information on coastal change (a complex issue) to encourage learning, then facilitates a two way dialogue between the stakeholders and the council in order to collect opinion on how to deal with land loss.
Face to face consultation meetings, targeting specific groups such as homeowners, businesses and utility providers, are being organised and facilitated by Halcrow with the support of an IMS stakeholder engagement specialist. Key themes and concepts emerging from the face to face meetings are being honed and tested using the online engagement tools. Additionally, initial engagement is also being performed online – to target those groups that can’t or don’t want to attend face to face sessions.
What was the outcome?
The combination of online and offline communication methods has resulted in a robust engagement programme which provides accurate and truthful feedback in a sustainable and accessible manner.