The Balanced Sea project used stakeholder engagement to put sea users and interest groups at the centre of the site selection process. The Project aimed to ensure that the spectrum of interests across the region was understood and that stakeholders have had a fair opportunity to make their views known and heard.
The objectives of stakeholder engagement are to:
- engage with regional, sub-regional and local communities of interest (stakeholders) who may be impacted by the recommendations
- ensure that all stakeholder interests are understood and considered
- access stakeholders’ experience and knowledge
- maximise areas of agreement, so achieving support for and/or understanding of the recommendations and how they have been developed
- acknowledge and clarify areas of outstanding disagreement
- establish and maintain an open and transparent process through information sharing, reporting and communication.
The South-East region is home to a highly diverse community of sea users, and the stakeholder groups were structured to fully represent all sectoral interests, whilst being small enough to work effectively. Membership was decided through consensual agreement, involving an initial stakeholder analysis exercise using information and recommendations provided during the county meetings and subsequent discussions and meetings with stakeholders.
There were three major elements to the basic structure:
1. Regional Stakeholder Group (RSG) - responsible for working through the issues and options, communicating with the Local Groups and developing recommendations. The RSG met on a regular basis, determined by the timetable developed nationally for production of the recommendations.
2. Named Consultative Stakeholders (NCSs) - stakeholders who would normally be invited to the RSG but were unable to attend meetings. Through correspondence, NCSs were able to contribute to the recommendation-making process carried out by the RSG.
3. Local Groups (LGs) – as advisory groups, the LGs met as required in relation to the national timetable, requirements of the RSG and other needs for input into the process. They were regularly updated by the RSG and had an opportunity to input through meetings and correspondence especially in response to information circulated from the RSG.
Further information about the stakeholder groups and how they were established
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