Community engagement

Last Updated: 14 October 2021

Our Community Engagement Strategy (PDF/177KB/7 pages) was originally developed and approved in 2007 and was updated in 2012.

Community Engagement takes many forms and is best described by the Ladder of Engagement, which describes the different levels of involvement:

  • Empowering: placing decision-making in the hands of the community
  • Collaborating: working in partnership with communities in each aspect of the decision, including the development of alternatives and the identification of the preferred solution
  • Involving: working directly with communities to ensure that concerns and aspirations are consistently understood and considered (partnership boards, reference groups and service-users participating in policy groups)
  • Consulting: obtaining community feedback on analysis, alternatives and / or decisions (surveys, door knocking, citizens' panels and focus groups)
  • Informing: providing communities with balanced and objective information to assist them in understanding  problems, alternatives, opportunities, solutions (websites, newsletters and press releases)

Consultation and Community Engagement Database

The Citizen Space consultation database is a partnership project with Cumbria County Council, the six district Councils, Cumbria Police and NHS Cumbria.

All consultations undertaken by the partners are available in one place on the consultation hub and the database is fully searchable.

Other groups can also use the database, contact our Community Engagement Officer for details.


Consultation is one form of Community Engagement that we are developing further. Our Consultation Strategy (PDF/204KB/9 pages) was approved in July 2010 and includes a Consultation Toolkit.

Consultation Toolkit

Consultation Toolkit (PDF/245KB/26 pages) helps to guide consultations ensuring they use the best methods and are as effective as possible. The toolkit is available to anyone who wishes to ask others their opinions, including voluntary and community groups, residents associations and other public organisations.

Questionnaire Design Guide

We worked with Action with Communities in Cumbria (ACT), to develop a Questionnaire Design Guide (PDF/826KB/24 pages). This aims to help community groups design the most effective questionnaires possible.

Community Engagement Standards

We are committed to monitoring the quality of our community engagement work with a view to supporting the development of more effective practice over time.

As a benchmark standard Cumbria County Council has adopted the Scottish National Standards for Community Engagement. We are working with them to implement these standards. Currently there is no equivalent authoritative statement for England.

The Scottish Standards were commissioned by the Minister for Communities and developed through an extensive engagement process that reviewed the quality of practice from the perspective of communities and agencies. The resulting standards were published by Scottish Government.

Cumbria Community Engagement Standards Self Assessment Guidance (DOC/125KB/14 pages)