Engagement is now central to how councils operate. Gone are the days of press release blasts and tick-box consultations.
Local authorities of the future will need to knit together their speaking and listening functions, to build real trust and understanding. This is especially true in an era of falling budgets, rising expectations and low trust in national politicians.
A cocktail of different factors – economic changes, cohesion issues, social media, globalisation, and increasingly curious and nondeferential citizens – means that councils must have real, honest conversations with residents.