This week sees the launch of www.birminghambeheard.org.uk – a database of consultations about and from Birmingham.
Typically the consultations stretch back about 3 years and involve the various organisations which form Be Birmingham, the local strategic partnership.
The site itself has been made by an internal team at Birmingham City Council. We were approached to make a a promotional video, which ended up being very practical: a simple to guide to how to start using the site:
You’ll notice one other thing which has happened since we made the film. The site has an RSS feed. It gives you general updates and the moment and I’m sure they’d be willing to consider a wider variety of rss feeds – for example by ward or constituency if you think that would help you. So there’s room to offer feedback here, use it if you get a moment.
Hang on a mo’…
I’m wondering just what this Be Birmingham Database is about. Is it meant to run Council consultations, be a combination of BCC and other consultations (like the NHS), or something separate from the Council? In any case, what’s it to do with me and my interests?
I see the intro is: “this is where you can find out what local people think about life in the city. Be Heard brings together views, comments and opinions collected through public consultation undertaken by Birmingham City Council and all of the organisations making up Be Birmingham”.
Does that mean this is meant to be the Council’s consultation portal? Or is it just aggregating material colleced by the Council?
If the former, I’m getting confused about which portal is which, and meant to do what. Is it the ‘lost’ portal on the BCC website, a ‘found’ portal elsewhere, or now this?
If it’s just an aggregator, could that be set out more explicitly, with a link to wherever I should be going if I’m looking for Council consultations?
Addendum – my own request for clarification needs clarification…
The consultation database seems to be a repository of past and future consultation info – as distinct from any consultation itself. Perhaps it’s still early days for the BCC online consultation portal, but I’m thinking there should be a web-place for doing consultations, and that the info on Be Heard should include pointers to those webspaces.
That’s true in the case of the Big City Plan: it links to the ‘found’ web portal (and reveals a certain typo).
That’s good then, but I’m still thinking there needs to be a clear link to the BCC consultation portal – even if it’s not online – so that we understand the distinction between the repository of info and the places that info is collected.
Thanks for your interest in the Be Heard database. To clarify, it is a storehouse of information about consultation exercises in the city and what has happened as a result.
In itself, Be Heard is not meant to be a portal or a means of carrying out online consultation. However, if this e-consultation is part of the overall consultation arrangements, the Be Heard database can direct potential participants to it. The e-consultation arrangements may be located on the Be Birmingham, Birmingham City Council or other partner websites.
You may be interested in the “alert” facility which will tell you when new consultation details on topics or areas you are interested in are added onto the database.