Residents' Panel FAQs
How do I join the Residents' Panel?
Why do you need to know details like my age and ethnic origin?
We use this demographic data to ensure that as far as possible all groups in the community are represented. It also helps us select special interest groups for particular topics of interest to them. We may also use this personal information when we are analysing the results by the different groups i.e. age groups, males/females, ethnicity and disability etc. We do this to see if there are any differences in the views and opinions between the different groups i.e. between males and females or different age group set. This is why we need to hold the relevant information on our database. The responses that individual panel members give to survey questionnaires are confidential and are not used individually but grouped together when analysing the results i.e. % that agree or % disagree etc. The personal details you give to us are retained for use by the participating organisations only.
If I join the Residents' Panel what am I committing myself to?
Your only commitment is to agree to receive occasional email alerts from us advising you of a new survey. You are under no obligation to complete every survey - just complete those that you are interested in or have strong opinions on.
Once you have my email address, will I be bombarded with 'spam' from the council or other organisations?
No. Your email and personal data are held securely and will not be shared with any other department or outside organisation. We will only use information you provide for the stated purpose of consultation.
Do I have to attend focus groups?
If you are invited to join a focus group your attendance is voluntary. You decide whether to accept or ignore the invitation.
How do you select people to invite to focus groups?
We try to select people who have expressed an interest in the subject or who fit the demographic profile of a group we wish to consult.
If I join how long am I committed for?
You may leave the Residents Panel at any time, just send an email to email@example.com advising us that you wish to leave and your details will be removed from the database.
Why can't people without internet or email join the panel?
They can, but the variety of consultation to which they have access will be limited.
Telephone and postal surveys are costly and time consuming to run and, in our experience, receive a low response rate. Web based surveys cost very little to run and attract a much higher response rate. The council has to use postal surveys for certain types of statutory consultation, but simply doesn't have the funding to run all consultations this way.
You do not have to have your own computer. Public internet can be accessed at the libraries, council offices and information points throughout the district, and free web-based email services like Hotmail and Gmail help to make this type of consultation more accessible, although we recognise that inevitably some people may be excluded. Advice on setting up an email account or registering without an email can be provided on request.
Do you actually take note of what people tell you in the survey results?
Yes. There wouldn't be much point in asking the questions if we weren't going to listen to the answers. The results from surveys are used to inform our decision makers of public perception and experience. We can't always deliver what you want if the money isn't available, but we will always try to find a way to respond positively to suggestions made by the panel - and we have improved services and saved money by doing so.
I work in Northamptonshire but live in Peterborough. Can I be on the Residents' Panel?
No sorry. Unfortunately one of the criteria for being on the Residents' Panel is that you must live in Northamptonshire which means you are not eligible.
If I move out of the area can I still be on the Residents' Panel?
Unfortunately to be on the Residents' Panel you must be resident in Northamptonshire. Please let us know if you move out of the area and we can take you off the list. You could contact the council in the area you are moving to find out if they have a Residents' Panel you can join.
Can more than one person from my household be on the Residents' Panel?
Yes, we will send you separate questionnaires as your opinions may vary on some topics.
I want to be on the Residents' Panel but I'm not sure I can commit to discussion groups?
You can join the Residents' Panel and choose not to be on the list for discussion groups. However, if you do indicate that you would be willing to take part in discussion groups, you can always say no if it's a topic you are not interested in, or you are busy.
Can people aged under 16 join the Residents' Panel?
No sorry, although we have no upper age limit to be a member of the Residents' Panel the minimum age limit is 16 years. There are other ways for young people to give their views to us. See the Northamptonshire Children's Rights or Young Leaders.
Do I get paid to be on the panel?
We find that most people are happy that they can take part and influence how local services are run and also appreciate that resources are very limited. If we invite people to a focus group or similar event organised by the council then reimbursement of necessary expenses such as travel will be offered as appropriate.
If you have a question about the Residents' Panel which is not covered in this page please contact Northamptonshire County Council's Public Participation Manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- East Northamptonshire Residents' Panel
- Residents' Panel FAQs (you are here)