The challenge - to obtain regular feedback from citizens for one of the UK's smaller councils
Oxford City Council wanted to rejuvenate its online residents’ panel, using a new research agency partner to bring fresh ideas and approaches. The challenges were to take over the panel from the incumbent provider, retaining as many existing members as possible, and then to build it to a target size while making it as representative of the city as it could be. The population of Oxford is skewed younger than average thank to the large number of students at its universities. This adds complexity to recruitment as not only are younger adults one of the groups least likely to engage with online panels, but student can be less invested in their temporary home.
Before, during and after the transition process, we have collaborated with Oxford City Council at every step of the way. We agreed detailed demographic targets and set up live monitoring. Together, we reassured existing panelists that they were valued and in safe hands. We identified recruitment channels with the best potential and designed targeted communications to attract residents from key demographic. All of these actions have been underpinned by a ‘welcome survey’ to secure early engagement and a planned programme of consultations to maintain interest.
We have a growing and highly engaged panel that is actively delivering insight to Oxford City Council. This is a resource that is valued now and is designed to grow and flex to stay fit for purpose in the future.