Key Documents

1. Hull City Council Research and Consultation Guidance and Standards

In Hull we believe in asking people what they think about the issues and services that affect their lives. The Council regularly undertakes research and consultation with residents and other stakeholders to seek their views on proposed changes to council services, plans, policies and other important issues.

This guidance document has been developed to assist service areas to make the right judgments about when, with whom and how to undertake research and consultation. It is designed to be an easy to understand, step by step process.

You should read this document before undertaking any research, consultation, feedback or data collection.

Hull City Council Research and Consultation Standards

2. project Brief Template

Are you undertaking a research project where you will need the assistance of the Insight Team?

Then as part of the process for accessing our support you will have to complete and a return our project brief template, providing us with more information about the background of your project and your proposed audience, methodology, timescales and resources.

Project Brief Template

3. PROJECT Plan Template

Undertaking formal consultation?

Then this document will guide you through the process of creating a consultation plan, including the key tasks needed and who is responsible for leading on those tasks.

Project Plan Template

4. Hull City Council Standard Demographic Monitoring Guidance

All corporate research and consultation must collect specific demographic data in a specific way.

The collection of consistent valid data helps you to understand how representative respondents to research or consultation are, or how representative your service users are.

If you do not collect this information, consistently, then you are not able to understand or, importantly, evidence who your customers are, whether there are gaps in service usage, whether this has changed over time, whether you have a full view of your customer experiences and whether different groups have significantly different experiences or opinions about your services.

Collecting demographic information helps the council, and your service or team to meet its duties under the Equality Act and to undertake Equality Impact Analysis when that is required.

At Hull City Council, we use questions identical to those asked in the Census, because the Census provides us with the official data against which we can compare.  The following guidance outlines what you must ask and how you must ask it.

Corporate Standard Demographics Guidance


Available E-Learning

The following e-learning is available by searching on the councils learning system.

Module 1: Introduction to Corporate Research, Consultation and Feedback Standards

By the end of this module you will:

    • Be able to define consultation, research and feedback
    • Understand why we need to do these things and do them properly
    • Understand how to plan to undertake these activities
    • Know the Councils Standards and Principals when undertaking this activity
    • Understand the Legal Framework in relation to consultation
    • Know the role of the Insight Team and the People’s Panel

Module 2: Questionnaire Design 

By the end of this module you will:

  • Know when and when not to use a questionnaire
  • Understand the questionnaire design process, including:
    • Understanding what information you require
    • Thinking about your target respondents
    • Choosing your methodology
    • Designing your questionnaire content
    • Deigning the survey layout
    • Corporate demographic monitoring questions
    • Piloting and testing

Module 3: Quantitative Research and Consultation 

  • What is quantitative research?
  • Quantitative research, and in particular self-completion surveys, interviewer-led surveys, polls and observation.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of the different qualitative research methods

Module 4: Qualitative Research and Consultation 

  • What is qualitative research?
  • Qualitative research techniques and in particular open text analysis, focus groups, depth interviews and observation.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of the different qualitative research methods

Module 5: Stakeholder Mapping & Sampling

  • Outline the stages of a sampling plan
  • Explain the importance of accurate sample selection
  • Select the appropriate sampling method for your project
  • Decide on a sample size that will produce both valid and reliable results
  • Identify potential sampling errors

Guidance and Articles

Below are links to some of the guidance and articles we have produced on key subjects:

Article 1 (September 2022): Knowing the difference between research, consultation, data collection and customer feedback

When is consultation not consultation?

Most of the time.

The Insight Team provides support, advice and guidance on consultation with staff, local residents, local businesses or partners. However, we are often approached to help with “consultation” that is not, in any way, consultation. Most often, it is research, customer feedback or data collection that is required.

So why does it matter? Consultation is just a word – a catch-all for all of these things, isn’t it? Wrong.

All of these things are describing different types of engagement. And yes, it does matter.

Consultation has a legal framework within which it must be carried out, and carried out properly. Decisions can be overturned if the processes are not followed fully.

Also, understanding what activity you need to undertake means that you will follow the right processes in the right way. It may also save a lot of time and a lot of money in the long run.

Follow this link for a handy guide to help you understand whether what you need to do is consult, undertake research, gather customer feedback, or get information on customers and users:

Hull Data Observatory – Engagement Methodologies

Article 2 (December 2022): Collecting and Handling Data including Demographic Data

When you undertake any kind of engagement or data collection, there is a lot of responsibility on you to make sure that you do it well and do it properly, and that the process, you and the people involved meet the necessary regulations and duties. The same responsibility also applies if you are making decisions that affect people.

  • It is your responsibility is to provide robust evidence for confident decision-making and for making sure the relevant duties are met
  • It is your responsibility to confidently make any decisions based only on robust evidence and for making sure the relevant duties have been met
  • There should always be a strong justification for not collecting the standard demographic data, and also for collecting any extra demographic data
  • Data Protection is an issue that is a part of the engagement and data collection process, and the responsibility for it sits with the project / service / team
  • Equality Impact Assessments ensure that the council is delivering its services fairly and is meeting its equality duties
  • The standard demographic questions are not of themselves a Data Protection issue – the handling, storage, sharing of the data, and the analysis and reporting of the data   is where problems may arise.

As a local authority we have a number of duties upon us, in terms of our understanding of residents, and their needs, and also in terms of how we handle, store, report and use that data.

In this article we explore the relationship between all forms of data collection and engagement, and our duties under the Data Protection Act and GDPR, and the Equality Act.

Hull Data Observatory – Collecting and Handling Private and Demographic Data