Residents' panel

The views of panellists form a vital part of shaping our vision for the future.

Take some time to read the information below to find out more about the panel and what your involvement as a panellist would be, before clicking through to the online questionnaire.

You will be asked to fill in some personal details about yourself. These include questions around age, gender, ethnicity and where you live. This will ensure the panel is representative of local communities, which is very important and will allow us to segment the views of panellists by specific groups.

What is required of panellists

Panellists will be contacted several times per year for their views on a variety of issues, projects and services that we, the council, provide. This could take the form of online surveys, postal surveys, focus groups or in certain cases telephone surveys. You can choose how we contact you and if you want to attend focus groups or not.

Only a small amount of surveys will be run every year, so panellists might only be required to dedicate 10 minutes every quarter to answering a survey. Equally, for those panel members wishing to get more involved, there could be the option to participate in other consultation activity, small forums or special events. 

In some cases, the survey may only be distributed to a sample drawn from the complete panel, so you may not necessarily be consulted on all the issues.

However much time you have to spare, even the smallest contribution could make a large impact on decisions made in your local area. 

The application process

The panel will consist of 1,000 residents representative of the borough. The only requirements are that all panellists must be aged 18 or over, a resident of Woking borough and enthusiastic about participating in local democracy. Panellists are not required to have any prior knowledge, skills or expertise and will not be expected to demonstrate any specific abilities before participating.
In the event of an overwhelming response from any specific demographic or geographical area, a selection of participants will be chosen at random from the over-subscribed group, and not on the perceived merit of one applicant over another. The remaining respondents will be put on a waiting list and invited to participate as incumbent panellists leave.

Active, responsive panellists will be able to serve the panel indefinitely. However, if a member of the panel does not respond to two consecutive surveys, we will reach out to check if they still wish to be involved. Panellists will be removed after the third non-response and replaced with someone on our waiting list. Removed Panel members will be able to join the waiting list at any point after being removed, but it might take some time to reach the top again. 

You might have seen an invitation that went out to residents which referred to only one application per household being allowed. However, in the case of the 18 to 24 year old age group, we are happy to accept applications from addresses where an older family member or housemate has already applied to join the panel.

The panel programme

The primary method of communication to panel members will be by email or by post. 

The Panel doesn’t usually meet, although we may host special events, which will give everyone on the panel a chance to meet representatives from the council. From time to time, however some panellists (around 10 per group) might also be invited to focus groups to discuss topical issues affecting the local area. 

For the time being, these meetings will be conducted virtually, via Zoom.

We will send panellists regular feedback, showing how the results have influenced decisions. Results of all surveys will also be made available online.

Storing your personal details 

Your details will not be used for any purpose other than for the residents’ panel, whether that be by taking part in surveys or being invited to related events. Your personal details will be stored securely and held separately from any questionnaire returns so that your individual views and opinions will remain anonymous. This is in accordance with the UK Market Research Society code of conduct.

All panel survey answers will always be treated in the strictest confidence and will only be used to monitor the way we (Woking Borough Council) deliver our services to local people. Panellists will receive a unique identification number, which will be used for all correspondence.

If any of your contact details change or you are moving out of the borough or you simply want to leave the Panel, please let us know and we will update your membership details or remove you from the Panel. Please get in touch using the details below.

Scheme incentives 

Participation in the panel will provide valuable insight into the needs of our local communities and will help to shape the future of the borough for many generations to come. We appreciate the time volunteered and will be running an incentives scheme for participants, details of which will be announced in due course. 

Also, if you are invited to participate in an event in person, we will reimburse your travel costs.

I want to join the residents’ panel 

More information