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Orkney Opinions

Orkney Opinions is the Council’s public consultation group. The group is made up of local residents who are regularly invited to give their views on specific Council plans or services. It is one of several formats that the Council uses to conduct consultation exercises and its aim is to supplement rather than replace other methods such as full-scale public consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is it?

Orkney Opinions is the Council’s public consultation group. The group is made up of local residents who are regularly invited to give their views on specific Council plans or services. It is one of several formats that the Council uses to conduct consultation exercises and its aim is to supplement rather than replace other methods such as full-scale public consultation. Group members can participate online or by post, as they prefer.

Where did it come from?

The Council decided to create a public consultation group in order to widen its range of methods of consultation and so enable better informed decisions to be taken. It helps us to involve people who might not choose to engage in other types of consultations.

What has the group been consulted on?

Feedback from past surveys issued to the Orkney Opinions group can be accessed via ‘More pages in this section’ above.

Who decides what topics are consulted on via Orkney Opinions?

Regular calls for survey topics are circulated throughout the Council and all teams can come forward with questions which they would like the Orkney Opinions group to answer.

What does the Council do with the feedback received?

The Council team who put forward the questions will analyse the feedback received and will use it to inform reports to senior managers and Elected Members about Council services and policies. Sometimes the feedback received will broadly support a proposed action, and other times it will not be in favour, and this information will be referenced in any decision-making.

Who is on it and how are they selected?

When the group was formed, and when any refresh of the membership is carried out, names are randomly selected from the Open Electoral Register by picking, for example, every 20th name. We aim for Orkney Opinions to reflect the demographic balance in Orkney’s population as a whole, as recorded in the Census. If a particular group is under-represented, for example isles residents or young people, we will send out extra invitations targeted to that group.

What are the expectations placed upon those on the group?

The number of surveys issued each year will vary, but it is anticipated that there will be between four and six surveys issued in any 12-month period. Members do not have to respond to all surveys issued to them but the more responses we receive the better informed the Council will be as to the views of the public on a particular matter.

Who will see my responses to the membership survey?

Responses are gathered and held securely, with strictly limited access to the demographic data belonging to group members. Personal information is used only to gather statistical data, or if a particular sub-group within the membership of Orkney Opinions needs to be consulted, for example, isles residents.

Who will see my responses to the regular surveys?

The responses are collated by administrative staff and issued directly to the Council team that prepared the questions for them to analyse the detail and comments made.

Will people know who has responded?

The initial survey to join the groups asks for demographic information such as age group, gender, employment status, caring responsibilities etc so that the Council can put together statistics on the composition of the group and ensure there is a balance of members that reflects the Orkney population.

All future surveys asking for feedback on a particular topic are anonymous and cannot be traced back to an individual, unless the person completing the survey chooses to add data about themselves or their situation. Where it is relevant to a particular consultation, surveys may ask for confirmation of some demographic information such as where you stay, or your age group, again purely for statistical purposes, and this would not be used to identify any individual.

What if I want to leave the group?

Members always have the option to leave the group and stop receiving surveys, and to do this they need only write or email requesting this along with confirmation of their name and address, so that we can be sure to remove the correct person from the group. The demographic information provided by that person will then be securely destroyed.

What involvement do Elected Members have in this?

Elected Members are sent a copy of the surveys issued to the group for their information along with the contact information for the Council team that prepared the questions in case they wish to be informed about the outcome of the survey.

Information from surveys may be used to inform policy decisions and will be referenced within committee reports presented to the Council.

Can I join if I haven’t received an invitation?

Sorry but no, membership of Orkney Opinions is by invitation only, to be sure that we do not inadvertently skew our demographic balance. But we’d definitely like to hear from you whenever we hold a full public consultation, which we do for issues which are likely to generate a lot of interest or affect a large number of people. We also consult from time to time with users of particular services or residents of specific areas, so if something is going to affect you personally you should get a chance to have your say.

Who can I contact if I have other questions?

Please email: corporateservices@orkney.gov.uk

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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