Citizens’ panel recruitment

Surrey County Council and Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership (NHS) Citizens' Panel recruitment

We are developing a new online citizens' panel and we have commissioned Opinion Research Services (ORS: www.ors.org.uk) to contact local residents and invite you to join.

ORS may contact you on our behalf during April or May 2021 via email, SMS or telephone call. We find it harder to reach younger residents, particularly those aged between 18 to 34, so if anyone in your household is this age, we would be especially keen for them to join.

This is an exciting opportunity to help shape local services, especially as we manage the recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. The commitment is low, you will simply be invited take part in online engagement such as surveys and can choose which activities you want to take part in.

The Panel will help us understand residents' views and ideas about a range of important issues, such as health and wellbeing, the environment and the local economy. Feedback from the panel will inform our decisions and help us do the right things to meet local peoples' needs.

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What is a Citizens' Panel?

A Citizens' Panel is a cross-section of local people who are invited to take part in regular research, consultation and engagement with us. People are selected at random and invited to join the panel and the makeup of the panel is broadly reflective of the local population. Engagement topics vary and usually revolve around local issues and public services, including health and wellbeing, the environment and the local economy.


Our Citizens' Panel

The Citizens' Panel is a large group of residents from across Surrey, who volunteer to take part in online engagement activities such as surveys, to help us understand residents' views and ideas about a range of important issues.

There will also be opportunities to attend discussion groups and events, as well as take part in engagement carried out in partnership with other public sector organisations. Panel members can choose which activities they want to take part in and opt out of those that don't appeal.


Making a difference

Understanding residents' views means that we are better able to target resources and develop services that meet the needs of local people. The purpose of the panel is to find out what residents think about local issues and council services in a cost-effective way.

This helps us do the right things and feeds directly into policy and decision-making processes. Feedback from the panel will be reported to Councillors and senior managers, to help them make better informed decisions to improve the lives of people in the borough.


Who is ORS and why are we using them?

Opinion Research Services (ORS) is a respected independent social research agency. The company has been running for nearly 30 years and only conducts research with members of the public and other stakeholders, for public sector organisations across the UK such as councils, emergency services and the NHS, to understand peoples' views, needs and priorities. ORS do not do any sales or marketing. See the Opinion Research Services website for more details.

We have commissioned ORS to contact local residents on our behalf and invite them to be part of our new citizens' panel. ORS will be contacting a sample of people across Surrey during April and May 2021 via email, SMS or telephone call. If you are approached by ORS we would really appreciate you considering joining our citizens' panel.


How were my contact details obtained?

ORS obtain contact details for residents from their trusted supplier Data-Scope. If you are contacted by ORS about our new citizens' panel via email, SMS or telephone call and do not wish to join the panel, please just reply and let ORS know this, and they will not contact you again.

ORS adheres to the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR). They are also a Company Partner of the Market Research Society (MRS) and adhere to the MRS Code of Conduct. ORS takes information security seriously and their systems are fully accredited to ISO 27001:2013 - Information Security Management and the UK Government backed Cyber Essentials Scheme.

For more information about how ORS is contacting local residents please see the ORS frequently asked questions

For more information about how ORS collects personal data please see ORS privacy notice.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the ORS Data Protection Officer via the email dpo@ors.org.uk or our research team via the email research@surreycc.gov.uk.


Why are we setting up the Panel during the pandemic?

During these difficult times it is more important than ever to find new ways to listen to our residents to understand their views and ideas. We want to engage with the Panel to understand what residents think the most pressing issues are and how we can work together to solve them. We know some of our residents are experiencing a difficult time during the pandemic for a wide range of reasons. The Panel is one of the ways that we can understand more about the impact of the pandemic on our residents.


What does the Citizens' Panel cost the Council?

There is a one-off cost to setting up the Panel that covers working with ORS to send out targeted email and text messages to underrepresented groups. Following this there are no additional cost to the Council of running the Citizens' Panel. The Panel is being managed in-house within existing staff resources and is operated on our existing research, consultation and engagement platform.

The Panel is a very efficient and cost-effective way of listening to our residents. Running the Panel online means that costs are minimized, and we can report on people's views quickly. Understanding residents' views means that we are better able to target resources and prioritise services to meet the needs of local people.


Other ways to share your views

The Citizens' Panel is online only. This is to keep costs to a minimum and to ensure we can report on people's views as quickly as possible. However, this is just one method we use to better understand the views of residents. We will continue to listen to people's views through a range of ways, including online consultation, paper surveys, telephone consultations, enabling public participation in meetings and through local Councillors.


Keeping personal information secure

If you would like to know more about how we use and store the information you give us, you can find further information in our privacy policy.

All the information you provide will be treated in the strictest confidence and no information will be released that could identify an individual, organisation or household when we report on findings of engagement activities.


Accessing our information and services

Our information is also available in Audio, Braille, Large Print or other formats. If you would like a copy of this information in a different format, in another language or require a BSL interpreter, please email: contact.centre@surreycc.gov.uk or telephone 03456 009 009.