Identifying the impact of policy changes on the local community is a vital part of successful policy making. Thurrock Council needed to assess the impact of council budget changes would have on the lives of key segments of their community.To support Thurrock council we devised a new programme of interactive qualitative research that effectively recruited a pool of residents with no experience of local government finance and used the research programme to help them learn about the difficult decisions that councils have to make. We incorporated a range of interactive techniques including paired "trade off" exercises; prioritisation methods and budget distribution simulation. This approach gave the council a full understanding of how the local community perceived potential budgetary changes on service delivery, which aspects of council activity they really value and which they could do without. By engaging more deeply with residents they gained legitimacy and credibility in making the difficult decisions councils have to make.
Our expertise in innovative research methods allied to our ability to reach out to all sections of the community that make us ideal research partners for anyone needing to genuinely engage with their stakeholders.