Norwich City Council
Research | Co-design | Evaluation | Training
Testing methods of capturing and sharing neighbourhood insights with citywide stakeholders & local residents
The citywide Reducing Inequalities Partnership want to improve residents' outcomes by better understanding people's needs, and where funding might have greatest impact in target nieghbourhoods.

The partnership is funding a place-based project - Community Conversations. This is an experimental 'bottom up' initiative, to try to gain these insights.

The initiative is rooted in the council's Community Enabling team which employs an asset based approach. This foremost aims to raise awareness of what is strong (not what is wrong) and build on those assets to empower local solutions where possible, and in the process reveal where external help is most needed.
Strategic partners, and increasingly frontline workers, operate remotely and spent little time in the communities they serve. It is therefore difficult to build relationships, gain insights and collaborate to develop solutions with people.

An assets approach requires time to build trust, and learn what works in a particular community. Strategic planners want information now to develop funding proposals in response to increasingly complex and embedded social challenges.
To design a programme of activity in target neighbourhoods to help develop and test ways to uncover local insights and feed these back to a variety of stakeholders in a timely way.
My role
I led the shaping and set up of the initiative whilst located in the Community Enabling team. I developed trusted relationships and built on organic opportunities to co-create a project that met multiple stakeholder needs. Drawing on my experience in coaching and facilitating I embedded ways of working that encouraged learning and iterative project development.
Work undertaken
  • Research including work shadowing, interviews with local organisations
  • Desk research to review community building examples in other areas
  • Facilitation and shaping of a range of regular stakeholder networks
  • Co-creation of local engagement events including a community trail and community popup shop
  • Co-design of digital prototype to capture and analyse conversations
  • Collaboration with social enterprise The Shoebox to design an inclusive recruitment and training process for Community Connectors
  • Evaluation framework to measure impact against key outcomes, and also capture additional value
  • Design of accessible ways to gather evaluation data for project officers
  • Coding and thematic analysis of data from digital conversation database
  • Design and facilitation of ongoing reflective practice sessions to develop project practitioners and iterate
  • Informal conversations and light touch presentations to help organisations understand an assets approach