How exciting! Windsor and Maidenhead Council have decided to launch a reward scheme for people who take part.
Is this a good idea? Well it’s been recognised by many for a long time that to get people involved there needs to be an incentive for doing so. But others have argued that being an active citizen should be enough of one and that a warm feeling of civic involvement is sufficient reward. Providing rewards and incentives cheapens people’s involvement they argue!
The most pragmatic on the other hand have realised, for a long while, that more generous rewards and hard cash are essential if we are too reach out and engage more than the so called usual suspects. They know that the going rate for a decent focus group is about £30 per participant and for a deliberative event (often an all day affair)£70 per participant will get you a good mix of people.
So a rewards scheme for getting involved is a natural extension of an approach to participation that has been around for a while. Overall, therefore, it probably is a good idea but the devil will be in the detail of how it is executed, how well it is publicised, and what the rewards are. A full evaluation will certainly be welcome.
Well done Windsor and Maidenhead for at least having a go!