Regeneration / Community development research

It is vital that the views, feelings and needs of local people are understood when making local decisions. This both strengthens the links between decision makers and the community (ensuring awareness and responsiveness to community concerns) and improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the decision maker.

Effective community consultation poses a major challenge for decision makers as the voice of the “majority” can often be shouted down by the occasionally professionalised and the sometimes unrepresentative “vocal minority”.

Mustard has significant experience of consulting with communities to ensure they have a voice in decisions being made at a local level. Our experience has resulted in the development of a number of techniques and methods to ensure that the whole of a community can be engaged effectively. This is based upon our experiences working with seldom heard groups, where we find the more intimate or sometimes anonymous processes allow for drawing out more detailed opinion.

We also work with ‘harder-to-hear’ groups on issues relating to Welfare to Work (moving people from being benefit claimants to securing sustainable and rewarding employment).

We have worked with public, private and third sector partners for over twenty years in this complex area, to inform the development and refinement of service delivery. We bring understanding of policy direction, provider priorities and the needs, desires and issues of welfare recipients in moving into employment.

Where we have made a difference:

  • Identifying perceptions of a local community with regards to the long-term priorities for a New Deal for Communities successor body
  • Understanding the impact of poverty on localised communities to inform the development of Anti-Poverty Strategies on behalf of a local authorities
  • Satisfaction measures: including assessments of prime contractors’ supply chains to measure overall satisfaction with the process and comparative performance
  • Understanding barriers to returning to employment for benefit claimants and providing assessment of the effectiveness of whole family approaches in supporting employment
  • Review of initiatives (such as skills and learning) in reducing repeat offending amongst the prison population and those recently released from custodial sentences
  • Review of the effectiveness of interventions to engage young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)