The consultation process that took place in 2016-17 to develop the new vision for Essex, The Future of Essex, has been identified as an exemplary model for place-based local branding and is included in a toolkit created by the LGA.
In a blog on the LGA website, Will Bibby – Transformation and Innovation Lead at Essex County Council – describes the four-month period of engagement that developed the themes of the vision. There were more than 1,000 responses from members of the public across Essex to The Future of Essex consultation, with more than 100 partners attending summits and over 30 public and voluntary sector leaders taking part in interviews.
The use of ‘cultural probes’ to frame discussions in schools and community groups is highlighted, including asking people to draw a flag, map their journey to work with string, write mottos and suggest one word to summarise Essex.
The collated information enabled Essex Partners to develop an insight-led place narrative and agree the key themes of the vision that were refined into seven ambitions for The Future of Essex.