Terms of Reference


Colchester City Council has created an exciting new opportunity which allows residents to have their say and share feedback on council services, plans and initiatives through an online research panel. The Panel will be a representative group
of Colchester residents who will be asked to provide their views and opinions on a range of topics. The data and insight collected will then be used to influence decision making processes.

Role of panel members

  • Panel members will be contacted via email and asked to participate in a mixture of online surveys, questionnaires, and/or face-to-face (virtual or in person) consultation/ engagement events, on a range of topics of relevance to Colchester.
  • Panel members will be able to express interest in a number of subject areas and will only be contacted regarding these specific topics.
  • Panel members will not be expected respond to all consultations, only those that are of specific interest to them.

Privacy and confidentiality

Colchester City Council takes the management of personal data seriously and it does this in compliance with data protection laws. All information collected will be used for research purposes only. We will never share personally identifiable information with third parties for promotional purposes.

The information you supply will be kept for the duration you are a member of the panel and for 2 years following your membership, at which point it will be disposed of securely.

For further information about how your data is used and stored, please go to www.colchester.gov.uk/privacy.

Your personal information will be used to:

  • Invite you to take part in questionnaires, surveys and consultations.
  • For general communication with you relating to the panel, such as newsletters.
  • Whenever applicable, to administer any prize draws.

Your personal information will not be used for:

  • Advertising, marketing or other solicitations not related to the purpose of the residents panel.
  • Will not be published in public documents without specific written consent.
  • Will not be passed to any third-parties for their own promotional purposes.
  • Your personal information is securely stored on servers in the UK and security measures are in place to protect the loss, misuse, and alteration of the information under our control. Only certain employees have access to the information you provide us. They have access for data analysis and quality control purposes only.

The answers you provide to all surveys, questionnaires and consultations will remain anonymous. This information may be  aggregated at postcode or other demographical levels for the building of statistical analysis. However, no identifiable information will ever be used.


If you decide you no longer wish to be part of the Residents Panel, you can unsubscribe by sending an email to residents.panel@colchester.gov.uk confirming your full name. Once you have been successfully unsubscribed, you will no longer receive any further correspondence about the panel.

General terms of membership

  • Membership of the panel will be limited to residents aged 18 years and over who reside within the city of Colchester.
  • The Panel will be open to all Colchester residents who complete the online registration form. We will ask for some personal information about you so that we can send you invitations to take part in research surveys, questionnaires and consultations.
  • Panel members will always be expected to behave in a responsible manner; to be as accurate as possible in their response to questions; and not to provide any inappropriate, malicious, or defamatory content.
  • Colchester City Council will reserve the right to remove membership from any panel member who breaches any of the terms of membership and will not be required to enter correspondence with the member.

Participating in research studies

  • Research studies will predominantly be conducted online, however there may be some occasions where Colchester City Council may wish to engage with members via face-to-face in person consultation events.
  • Your participation in any panel activity will always be voluntary. Panel members have no obligation to take part in every consultation, and we will try to tailor our invites to best match your chosen areas of interest.
  • Any answers you provide to surveys, questionnaires or consultations will remain confidential. No personal identifiable information will be collected or used during data analysis.
  • If there are any conflicts of interest in a research project you would like to take part in then we ask you to raise these with the research team.

Review of these terms

  • These terms of reference are subject to a biennial review. 

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