Research, Consultation and Feedback

At Hull City Council, we collect information and data about people (residents, staff, businesses, stakeholders etc.) in many different ways and for many different uses.

If we collect it in a consistent and accurate way, we can move from a data-rich / knowledge poor organisation, to a data-rich / knowledge rich and insightful organisation.

When you undertake any kind of engagement (research, consultation, data collection or customer feedback), there is a lot of responsibility on you to make sure that you do it well and do it properly.

Hull City Council is committed to being a listening council, that involves local people in the decisions that affect them.

To do this, we need to make sure that we take that involvement seriously, that we do it properly, and that we gather useful, valid and robust data that can confidently be used in decision-making. It requires that we collect consistent information about the residents who engage with us and use our services.

This following page outlines the new corporate process for all individuals or teams wishing to undertake a research, consultation, or customer feedback project.

The aim is to ensure that minimum corporate standards, good practice, value for money and policy are all met.

Step 1: How Do I Get Started?

Before you start any research, consultation, or customer feedback project you, and anyone else involved in the project, must do the following:

1) Read the Corporate Standards for Research, Consultation, Data Collection and Analysis

The Corporate Standards have been developed to assist service areas to make the right judgments about when, with whom and how to undertake research, consultation, and data collection. They are designed to be an easy to understand, step by step process. They outline principals and standards that all Hull City Council research and consultation must follow.

Click here to read the Corporate Standards for Research, Consultation, Data Collection and Analysis 

2) Complete A Project Brief

The project brief outlines the responsibilities of those involved in the project and covers the key elements of the project like the background, the work to be done, with whom and in what way, and the timescales involved.

Completing a project plan will help you to make sure you have considered all the important aspects involved in undertaking a research / consultation / feedback project.

It will also help ensure that you are able to access to access the right tools and support for your project.

Click here to download the Project Brief template

Note: All project briefs must be signed off by a relevant Assistant Director who is ultimately responsible for ensuring all projects in your area meet the Corporate Standards, that staff are fully trained, that systems are in place to manage and protect personal data, and that your duties under the DPA and GDPR, and the Equalities Act are met.

The project Planning Template is a useful guide to planning any engagement activity.

It lays out all of the possible steps that are often needed, and that should certainly be considered, in a project of this nature, with approximate timings.

You don’t need to use it or to return it if you don’t want to, however, you will find it useful in the planning of the activity.

Click here to download the Project Planning Template

3) Undertake the Relevant eLearning

The Insight Team have developed a suite of eLearning modules that are available via the HCC Learner Self-Service portal on Oracle.

Everyone must complete the Introduction to Corporate Research, Consultation and Feedback Standards module.

You must also undertake the remaining eLearning modules appropriate to your project and your role.

  • Module 1: Introduction to Corporate Research, Consultation and Feedback Standards (Essential)
    Understand what you need to do, why you need to do them, and how to do them properly
  • Module 2: Questionnaire Design (Strongly Recommended)
    How to design useful, engaging surveys that collect good quality data every time
  • Module 3: Quantitative Research and Consultation (Strongly Recommended)
    When and how to use quantitative methods like surveys and polls
  • Module 4: Qualitative Research (Strongly Recommended)
    When and how to qualitative methods like open text, focus groups and interviews
  • Module 5: Stakeholder Mapping and Sampling (If Required)
    Deciding who you want / need to engage with and producing a sampling / stakeholder mapping plan

Step 2: What Corporate Support / Tools Are Available?

Note: To access support from the Insight Team, or to use one of the following corporate engagement tools, then your project must meet (or commit to meeting) the Corporate Research, Consultation and Feedback Standards. Projects that do not meet the Corporate Standards will not be able to access this support and these tools. Details of how to access the below support / tools are included in the next section.

1) The Insight Team

The Insight Team supports the council to make robust and reliable evidence-led decisions. They design and undertake major research, consultation and customer feedback projects and provide professional expert organisational advice, support and guidance. If your project is one, or more, of the following then the Insight Team MUST be involved:

  • A corporate priority
  • A consultation
  • A legal obligation (either a statutory consultation, or the Duty to Consult applies)
  • Going to impact / effect a significant number of people
  • Will have a significant impact (even to a small number of people)
  • Will lead to spending a significant amount of money
  • Will involve the depletion or deletion of services
  • Wide reaching (you need to get the views of a large number of people)
  • High profile (is it going to come under a lot of scrutiny)
  • Sensitive in nature (there are risks or consequences associated with the subject matter / audience)
  • Controversial (there likely to be protest or challenge)
  • Involves procuring research / consultation / feedback / fieldwork type services from an external provider

In these instances the Insight Team will manage (or help you to manage) specific aspects of your project, including project design and development, project delivery, analysis, reporting, publication, and / or feedback.

If your project does not meet the above criteria, the Insight Team still offer support and guidance to all projects at any stage in the process. They will help to ensure that your project meets Corporate Standards and that it delivers what you need and what the council requires from it.

2) The People’s Panel

The People’s Panel is a community of over 3,500 local residents who are surveyed online four times a year on a variety of subjects. They are a highly engaged, representative group who provide the Council will high quality local intelligence. The People’s Panel is the Council’s primary mechanism for engaging with residents, and the most effective way of gathering a large number of responses such that results can be reported with a high degree of statistical confidence.

Responses are weighted to be demographically representative of Hull’s wider population; and results are usually available broken down by key resident demographics and customer segments; allowing us to analyse whether different groups have differing views (thus supporting Equality Impact Assessments etc.)

Note: The People’s Panel is only suitable for questions which are relevant to all (or the significant majority of) residents. It cannot, for example, be used to collect the views of users of a small / specialist service.

There is a high level of demand for content in the People’s Panel and therefore inclusion cannot be guaranteed. Priority will be given to ‘planned’ content (i.e. those who have come to the Insight Team early), content which appeals to / impacts on the general resident (rather than a small subset) and content which meets the Research and Consultation Standard.

You will also be expected to provide a prize for the survey and to demonstrate that you are promoting completion of the Panel through your own marketing / communication channels.

3) YourSay / Engagement HQ (

YourSay is the Council’s online consultation and engagement platform.

It incorporates a suite of online quantitative and qualitative engagement tools which can be used to collect data from individuals, including:

  • Surveys (Drill down and capture quantifiable data using a variety of question types and rich media)
  • Quick Polls (Quick polls allow you to ask a single question and capture a snapshot of sentiment or priorities.)
  • Forums (Moderated interactive spaces for considered discussion and dialogue by and with your community)
  • Maps (Interactive mapping to gather comments, surveys and photos on a map with a simple “pin” drop)
  • Guestbook (An alternative to Forums. Simple online feedback without the dialogue. A safe space for your community to provide comments.)
  • Q&A (Q&A is a managed space for your community to ask you questions and for you to respond either publicly or privately)

Users can create their own “projects” and manage the entire engagement process in-platform, with access to real-time project engagement dashboards and some automated analysis and reporting functionality.

Click here to learn more about the Engagement HQ tools

Step 3: How Do I Access Corporate Support / Tools?

Note: To access support from the Insight Team, or to use one of the following corporate engagement tools, then your project must meet (or commit to meeting) the Corporate Research, Consultation and Feedback Standards. Projects that do not meet the Corporate Standards will not be able to access this support and these tools. Details of how to access the below support / tools are included in the next section.

To access support from the Insight Team, or to use one of the corporate engagement tools (People’s Panel or YourSay / EHQ), you should:

  1. Read the Corporate Standards for Research, Consultation, Data Collection and Analysis
  2. Undertake the relevant eLearning
  3. Complete a Project Brief (with Assistant Director approval)
  4. Email a copy of your completed Project Brief (with Assistant Director approval) to

The Insight Team will review submitted projects on a weekly basis to check whether they:

  • Meet (or commit to meeting) the Corporate Research, Consultation and Feedback Standards
  • Require Insight Team involvement / support
  • Are requesting to use / are suitable for:
    • The People’s Panel
    • Your Say / Engagement HQ

Projects will then be prioritised based on project importance / impact and available resources.

Note: If your project is suitable for YourSay / Engagement HQ then the Insight Team will send your project brief to the Customer Experience Team. You should not contact them directly about using YourSay / Engagement HQ. All requests to use this platform must be made, in the first instance, by submitting a project brief to the Insight Team.

Step 4: What Other Tools Are Available?

If you are undertaking a project without the Insight Team involvement, then there are a number of alternative engagement tools available to you.

You should still read the Corporate Research and Consultation Standards and have completed the necessary e-learning modules before using these tools.

 Your project must also meet the Corporate Research and Consultation Standards.

You should pick the most appropriate tool(s) based on a clear understanding of what you want to collect and from whom – you should have a clear idea of this from your project brief.

MS Forms

What: Microsoft Forms allows you to create simple online surveys, questionnaires or polls.

You can invite people to respond to it using almost any web browser or mobile device, see real-time results as they’re submitted, use built-in analytics to evaluate responses, and export results to Excel for additional analysis.

When: Microsoft Forms is best used for simple online surveys aimed at a specific, usually internal, audience (e.g. staff feedback, course evaluation etc).

How To Access: Microsoft Forms is available as an additional module to Microsoft 365.

 You should raise an ICT service request for Standard Software Install – Other / Unlisted Software

 Online support and training are available here: Microsoft Forms help & learning

Snap XMP

What: SNAP XMP allows you to design more professional and engaging paper and online surveys from scratch. Users can publish their online surveys directly to the web, generating a unique survey link (or QR code) which they can share internally or externally. SNAP XMP supports alternative formats, dynamic question styles and responses can be analysed in the software or exported to Excel.

Users can also collaborate and share both surveys and results.

When: Snap XMP is most suitable for when you want to produce a more sophisticated paper or online survey, usually for an external audience (e.g. specific service users or stakeholders).

How To Access:  You should raise an ICT service request for Standard Software Install – SNAP XMP

 Once you have SNAP XMP installed there is a wide range of supporting training materials available on the Snap Surveys website: Snap XMP documentation – Snap Support (

Training sessions can also be purchased directly from Snap Surveys: Training courses, prices and dates – Snap Surveys

Note: Remember, if you are responsible for undertaking your own research project you must have plans in place to analyse, report and publish / share the results. As per the corporate standards you must report results openly, honestly and transparently. Feedback is an important part of any engagement project and demonstrates to people that you have listened to their views and that you have used them to inform decisions

Sharing the results with colleagues and other interested parties prevents research / consultation fatigue (by ensuring residents don’t get asked the same questions again and again), and improves data sharing and best practice

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