Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Engaging PCCs?

Just a quick post to link to Bernard Rix' most recent thematic on "PCCs & Public Engagement". As you will read, I assisted Bernard with this thematic. There is some very useful analysis there on how much (and how little) PCCs are doing to engage with their publics.

It is still, just, possible to say these are early days for PCCs. But only just. Given that while this governance structure is only a 16 months old but given that it was partly built on the limitations of Police Authorities engagement with their publics, I would have thought that PCCs overall would have made greater progress.

So CoPaCC's second thematic is really a call to arms: many (if not most) PCCs need to wind up several gears on their engagement strategies. Some are leading the way. It is time for them all to do so.

So please can we see an end (and startto:
  • Public consultations that start when all the strategic deliberations are more or less over (do it earlier!)
  • Surveys that only tap into people's opinions (rather than their judgments)
  • Focusing on processes & outputs (rather than seeking the public's views on desirable outcomes)
  • Singular methods of engagement (when multiple approaches would work far better)
  • Engagement than ends just with consultation (as opposed to joint action)
  • Too much focus on looking backwards (looking forwards leads to far richer conversations)
  • Fragmented consultation strategies (joining up with several agencies is cheaper and better reflects the experience of the public)
I live in hope...


  1. I was at first suspicious of the role of the PCC as I didn't know enough about the candidates or what it was they were to do - and because of this it was first time in my adult life I did not vote - however I have come to realise that the role of the PCC is valuable for public assurance of the Police. In Staffordshire where I live our PCC Matthew Ellis is excellent and by using social media is engaged daily with the public - he is very forward thinking and it would appear not afraid to say it how it is! A useful tool for any politician. Overall I am happy with the role of the PCC and support Matthew Ellis at future elections. Interesting you mention looking backwards as I am in agreement, we are lucky in Staffs that Matthew Ellis appears to be a very forward thinker.

    1. Thanks for your post Andy - and I am sure that Matthew Ellis is happy that he has at least one vote in the bag, as it were (assuming elections in 2016 go ahead).

      The looking forwards bit is crucial in my opinion: consultations that focus on how good/bad past service has been can easily result in defenciveness and division. Whereas focusing on hopes and ambitions for the future tends to bring people together. It is then the job of politicians and strategists to make those futures happen.