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Citizens’ Panel to help guide Covid-19 recovery

A new Citizens’ Panel has been set up to help guide the West Midlands’ recovery from Covid-19.

The group, which is made up of 36 people representing the diverse make-up of the region, will spend the next month learning about the impact of coronavirus on communities and will help guide what recovery plans should focus on.

This community engagement will complement the region’s ongoing economic recovery work, which is being spearheaded by the Economic Impact Group, which brings together business leaders, central government, banks, trade unions and local authorities.

The Citizens’ Panel has been commissioned by the West Midlands Recovery Co-ordination Group (RCG) – a collaboration of senior officials from the region’s local authorities, emergency services and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The panel will share their experiences, consider evidence on impacts from expert witnesses, and deliberate over challenging trade-offs, before putting forward a set of recommendations to the RCG.

Cllr Brigid Jones, the chair of the Citizens’ Panel steering group and WMCA portfolio holder for inclusive communities, said:

Asking the public what they think should be done is very important to the recovery of the West Midlands.

“The panel members have a unique opportunity to help influence what the West Midlands will look like in the future.

“We are looking forward to hearing their views and informed opinions about the direction of our region.”

The RCG will use the recommendations of the Citizens’ Panel to help inform the region’s political leaders on their post-Covid-19 recovery plans.

Deborah Cadman, chair of the RCG and chief executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) said:

Recovery from this pandemic is about more than just the economy – we need to think about how we re-connect, re-build, and bring our communities back together after months apart.

“The new Citizens’ Panel is expertly placed to help guide this work, and I look forward to working with the team and their communities – as we have been throughout the crisis – and seeing their recommendations.”

The programme is being delivered by BritainThinks, an independent insight and strategy agency, and is supported by Engage Britain, which is a charity focused on bringing together people with different views, knowledge and experience to help tackle the biggest challenges facing the country.