COVID-19 has changed how we live, work and communicate with each other. During the COVID-19 crisis, local authorities rose to the challenge and engaged with their communities at an unprecedented level and pace.
Their work made sure that volunteers were recruited to support the shielded, that individuals got tested and adopted COVID-safe behaviours and that communities and businesses were ready to support people’s return to ‘normal’.
The impact of this engagement has been overwhelmingly positive. Our latest resident polling shows much higher levels of trust in local authorities, even though trust in other institutions continues to decline.
However, as we now enter extremely challenging financial times, that trust between residents and councils needs to remain strong so that support can be provided to the economically vulnerable while resilience to resist future shocks is strengthened across communities.
New Conversations, the LGA’s comprehensive guide to community engagement, was first published five years ago to help councils develop meaningful conversations and trusted relationships with residents and local communities to tackle and resolve local challenges in a way that best met local needs.
This update of New Conversations aims to build on our previous guidance. It includes some of the best practice developed, and lessons learned, through engaging communities during the pandemic. It reflects what you have told us you need to support you in building trusted relationships, and in effectively engaging, with your communities.