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This report documents the deliberative community engagement program that was delivered by Desley Renton and Nicola Mendleson in partnership with the Essential Services Commission which will inform Vulnerability Strategy to facilitate more equitable access to essential services. 

The engagement program ran from 11 November to 6 December 2020. A community panel of 37 people was established to provide insights and recommendations to us. 29 panel members completed the entire process. 

The remit of the panel was to develop recommendations on how to address vulnerability in our regulated and administered sectors, and to develop a definition of wellbeing in the context of being able to access and pay for essential services. The recommendations can be found in Appendix A of this report and a summary illustration is provided on page five. 

The engagement program was designed and implemented within tight timeframes, with three weeks for the recruitment process and four weeks for the panel process. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the process was conducted entirely online including all client and panel meetings. 

Project success criteria 

It was important that the deliberative engagement process delivered: 

  • • a positive experience for participants 
  • • clear consensus-based recommendations to support the Vulnerability Strategy 
  • • commissioner involvement and confidence in the outcomes 
  • • internal skill development and capacity building in engagement processes 
  • • reputation enhancement. 
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