The council needs to move back to face to face consultation instead of “excluding half the population” by carrying out engagement online.

Aberaeron councillor Elizabeth Evans said she was not surprised that a recent consultation on how the council engages with residents had a low response because it had been carried out online.

“So many older people in our communities don’t have access to email or are not on social media, and they have absolutely no idea of consultations going on in Ceredigion. We are missing a huge part of the population,” she said.

Cllr Evans was at cabinet on Tuesday (October 4) where members were discussing a report on Ceredigion County Council’s engagement and participation policy that was approved for public consultation this summer.

Cabinet heard that the “response was disappointing” with 112 responses through an online survey, and 64 per cent were unhappy or very unhappy with the way the council engages with them.

Respondents were more positive about the plans for future engagement, a report to cabinet notes, with a “mixed method approach” relevant to meeting residents’ needs.

The policy has been altered following feedback to investigate the feasibility of in-person focus groups, more feedback on results to residents, and monitoring progress in improving engagement and participation.

Reference was also made to “consultation fatigue” and questions asked about the numbers carried out.

Cllr Evans said there must be a move back to going into communities with drop in sessions and other activities and members heard that the policy does expand on current provision and includes road shows and other events where possible.