What is it?
The BME Consultation Panel has been set up by us to make sure that there is an effective consultation mechanism for local public sector agencies. The Panel is made up of Black and Minority Ethnic people from across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington areas who have agreed to get involved and respond to consultation requests.
Why should I get involved?
Because it’s an opportunity for you to have a say in issues that affect not just your life, but those around you too. If people from BME backgrounds don’t get involved then policies and procedures won’t necessarily reflect the needs of those communities.
Which agencies are consulting?
We currently work with a wide range of agencies, such as the local authorities, the fire service, the police and other criminal justice agencies. All agencies that engage the panel however are required to sign up to a common framework which complies with good practice.
There are consultations throughout the year with different agencies. After you have registered with us, we will advise you when there is one coming up.
Why do I have to fill in a questionnaire?
The more information we have the better we can match you up your profile to consultations. So for example if we had a focus group on disability issues for Chester residents we would be able to pull out those people who lived in Chester and had expressed an interest in disability issues. It also means that we can identify where there are gaps in the panel in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, disability and residence.
Who can be involved?
It is specifically only for people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. That in everyday terms means anyone who isn’t from the White British majority. This includes white minority groups too like Eastern Europeans and Gypsies and Travellers.
The reason for this is because people from BME groups tend to be poorly represented in standard consultation methods used by public sector agencies. You can join as an individual or to represent a group- just be clear when you are being consulted what capacity you are acting in.
What commitment is expected of me?
The commitment you make is up to you. You will always be notified of relevant consultations, but you might not want to get involved every time. Focus groups will be called for some consultation and not others – so your involvement depends on you! A copy of the Consultation Charter can be downloaded with further information.
There are a variety of different ways you can be consulted – it’s up to you to choose the method you would like us to use:
- Postal Questionnaire
- One to one meeting
- Telephone Interview
What about expenses?
We value your input and so we will give you £20* in vouchers for attendance at any consultation meeting. We will give you a £5 voucher for any completed postal survey.
* Some consultations we notify you of may not attract a payment, but that will be clear in the invitation and of course up to you whether you choose to get involved or not. Even in those circumstances, travel expenses will always be met.