ORS recognises the importance of consultation being fair and balanced, to ensure that decision-makers are properly informed about the full-range of different views before decisions are taken. Our expert team has extensive experience of managing consultation programmes for a wide range of different organisations. We provide advice founded on the Gunning Principles, together with practical help and support for engagement programmes of any scale.
ORS is a specialist social research agency with direct experience of designing and delivering complex consultation programmes. But crucially, we are much more than research agency capable of data gathering. We are frequently engaged to play the role of senior delivery partner and ‘critical friend’ by our public sector clients. We provide advice and guidance throughout the process as well as providing a full suite of in-house services covering quantitative and qualitative research, analysis and reporting.
ORS has extensive experience designing and delivering robust engagement and consultation programmes for NHS organisations. These range from changes to GP services and walk-in centres in single locations, to major acute service transformations across multiple hospitals and community settings.
We have a permanent team of social researchers, analysts and research support staff, alongside our in-house Contact Centre and fieldwork teams. This enables us to design, deliver and report a full range of primary research activities. These include questionnaires and residents’ surveys, online and face-to-face public meetings and focus groups, and in-depth interviews.
This depth and breadth of experience and expertise has enabled us to support numerous NHS organisations by undertaking all aspects of:
We are frequently called upon to help senior decision-makers understand their role in the process and deliver workshops on interpreting outcomes. We are also asked to provide continued support post-consultation, including presenting and discussing research findings at meetings in public of decision-making, assurance and scrutiny committees.
A substantial proportion of ORS’ work is for Local Government. This covers a range of specialist areas, such as Housing, Private Rented Sector Landlord Licensing and Health and Care services. We also undertake full engagement and consultation programmes covering all aspects of the local policy agenda and service delivery.
We have supported County Councils, Unitary Councils and Local District Councils to consult on a wide range of topics related to reorganisation and service planning, including:
ORS’ in-house team provides quantitative research services including online and paper questionnaires and telephone and face-to-face surveys. They are also experienced in recruiting, managing and reporting extensive programmes of deliberative consultation activities. These include Focus Groups; open public meetings; formal Citizens’ Panels; workshops with stakeholder organisations and local businesses; and engagement with Town, Parish and Community Councils and special interest groups.
Importantly, we have a strong track record of successful engagement with seldom-heard and hard-to-reach groups. Furthermore, ORS has delivered analytical research projects such as profiling inequality and modelling population trends to provide robust evidence to inform decision making.
ORS has worked with numerous Fire and Rescue Services since 1998. Our team has substantial experience of delivering a wide range of complex and controversial Community and Integrated Risk Management Planning consultations. They have a detailed understanding of the issues and challenges that Fire and Rescue Services face and have gained a reputation as leaders in this field. This is based on delivering robust and defensible public consultations that meet the standards of best practice and withstand scrutiny at all stages.
ORS’ dedicated quantitative and qualitative research teams often use mixed research methodologies. This enables them to deliver extensive programmes of engagement with residents, staff and other stakeholders. Furthermore, we support our FRS clients to meet their obligations under the Equalities Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998 by ensuring that engagement is accessible to all. Where required, we undertake additional targeted engagement to ensure that the views of seldom-heard and hard-to-reach groups are heard and included in our comprehensive consultation feedback reports.
Over the last ten years ORS has conducted public consultations around the introduction or renewal of selective and additional Private Rented Sector Landlord Licensing Schemes. We have worked with numerous Borough and City Councils across England on schemes of all sizes. Using a range of research methodologies, including questionnaires and telephone surveys, residents’ Focus Groups, and landlords’ forums, we have successfully engaged with thousands of landlords and letting agents, and tenants and other local residents.
Our approach to managing consultation is based on a robust process that meets the requirements set out by the Secretary of State. The approach also minimises the risk of challenge from other key stakeholders.
We have worked hard to build constructive relationships with local and national bodies representing a wide range of different perspectives. These include:
During formal consultation, we have brought together representatives from these organisations for constructive round-table discussions. This approach helps to understand different perspectives, and will often focus on local issues. The outcomes from these sessions have then been included in our comprehensive reports for council cabinet members to consider.