How does VOiCE work?
When you are involved in a particular piece of community engagement, VOiCE invites you to address questions under the headings : analyse, plan, do and review as they become relevant to the engagement you are conducting. It asks you to record relevant information relating to these questions on a computer. These recordings build up throughout the process of the engagement. They enable you, with other participants, to reflect on what you are doing and whether it is enabling you to achieve your purposes
Throughout the engagement VOiCE provides you with access to:
- Handy hints that are relevant to the particular stage of an engagement process.
- The relevant National Standard for Community Engagement.
- Worked examples of how the database can be used for different types of community engagement.
It will also enable you to:
- Create and print reports.
- Attach links to other documents.
- Identify and consult records of other engagements held on the data base.
VOiCE assists you to identify the appropriate level of engagement for your purposes. It focuses on clarity about whether you are:
- simply providing information to communities,
- consulting people in relation to specified options or
- entering into a more open relationship which may involve shared decision making or action.
If you are managing or co-ordinating community engagement across an agency or partnership you will have access to the recording of all the engagement activities that are being conducted. You can analyse the records to identify what is happening or look at the detail of particular engagements. You can;
- identify themes and issues,
- plot geographical coverage,
- differentiate between levels of community involvement being adopted (i.e. information provision, consultation, or engagement involving joint decision making or action),
- avoid duplication,
- promote networking and mutual learning between initiatives,
- evaluate overall effectiveness,
- report on what is being done,
- assess and guide the contribution of engagement to strategic purposes.