A year of citizens panels

A year after the launch of the Greater Manchester Citizens Panel, the panel continues to contribute to the strategic direction of the Greater Manchester Civic University Agreement, Greater Manchester Universities and research projects at the University of Manchester.

To ensure civic engagement sits at the heart of the work undertaken by the universities in Greater Manchester, it was agreed by the Greater Manchester Civic University Board (CUB), (a partnership board of  five of the Universities of Greater Manchester: University of Salford, University of Bolton, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Manchester and Greater Manchester Combined Authority), that a Citizens’ Panel would be developed. The panel’s role is to analyse, understand, and act on the views of citizens across the city region. The panel is also supporting researchers at The University of Manchester to connect their work with the citizens of Greater Manchester.

Working with research consultancy Public First, 60 diverse people were recruited from across Greater Manchester to serve as panellists for a term of two years. The panel has met to discuss everything from creativity to the university’s s work on air pollution. The panel were also involved in helping inform research linked to indoor air pollution

Professor Jennie Henley chair of the Greater Manchester Civic University Board said of the panel: “The panel has helped shaped our work delivering our civic university agreement. The five universities and GMCA made the commitment in the agreement that citizens of Greater Manchester would have a voice in our work, the panel has been that voice. We have benefitted from their experience and their honest and openly shared views. We certainly need to do more to share and engage the citizens of Greater Manchester in the work that we do.”

In late 2023, the panel met with the University of Manchester’s Creative Manchester team, lead creative academics from across the five universities and Greater Manchester Combined authorities’ creative team. The panel explored what the role of universities are in creativity in the city region and how they can connect with citizens in Greater Manchester. The feedback from the panel will be used as part of the wider stakeholder engagement of GMCA to develop their new creative strategy.

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