High Speed 2 (HS2) is a planned high-speed railway in the United Kingdom linking London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester. It will be one of the most significant capital projects in Europe with a projected cost of £56bn and a planned 16-year build. Consultation is ongoing around the route, compensation for local stakeholders, intersection with current franchisees, and numerous other details. Traverse (under previous name, Dialogue by Design) has been successfully working with the DfT and HS2 (Ltd) since 2011 on six high profile and contentious consultation processes. These have involved the secure collection and analysis of over 100,000 responses:
For each consultation, we advised the Department for Transport (DfT) and HS2 teams on questions and materials, ensuring that they were clear, unambiguous and unbiased. This process typically involved confidential material, not yet in the public domain, which was handled in line with Traverse’s security policy. We also advised them on the collection of demographic data as part of the diversity questionnaires.
|2011 Investing in Britain's Future||Initial proposals for the new railway||55,000|
|2013 Draft Environmental Statement||Response to HS2's environmental proposals||21,000|
|2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 Property Compensation||Purchase of stakeholder-owned property on or near the route||52,363 (total)|
|2016 Design Refinement, Draft Environmental Impact Assessment, Draft Equality Impact Assessment||Response to Design, Environmental Impact Assessment and Equality Impact ASsessment||1,139 (total)|
|2017 Property, Route Refinement||Property and route propoosals||8,969 (total)|
At the beginning of each consultation we developed a ‘Data Journey’ in which we recorded all project guiding protocols and which we updated regularly to maintain a log of our processes. Our system has allowed us to deal consistently with a wide range of response formats from hand written letters, annotated maps and photos to enormous numbers of email or postcard campaigns. We analysed all responses received, whatever the format. At times we had three consultations running for HS2 simultaneously and we developed additional protocols and mechanisms to ensure that responses were directed to the correct consultation.
As HS2 required quick access to all analysis outputs to meet their own challenging internal deadlines, we provided them with a Client Review Website where they could see all processed responses and follow the coding process live. To maximise the usefulness of the review website, we worked with HS2 to identify which responses they would like us to prioritise. Throughout all projects, we expanded our data entry, analysis and reporting teams as required depending upon the number of responses received. We used a mixture of experienced, trained temporary staff, associates and staff from across the OPM Group, with consistent oversight from a member of the core project team. For one of the consultations, where the number of responses far exceeded the client’s estimate, we purchased additional hardware and introduced shift working to ensure that we still met the demanding reporting timetable.
During the 2014 Property Compensation Consultation all aspects of our work were peer reviewed by The Consultation Institute (TCI). We were very pleased with TCI’s conclusion that:
Consultation Manager at HS2 Ltd said: