How do you know your consultation is any good?

More and more decisions are being challenged because the consultation is accused of being flawed. The NHS, local authorities and others are living in fear, or they are resigned to the possibility, that their decision to change services will be challenged by judicial review, on the grounds that the consultation process was unfair.

So how do you demonstrate that your consultation adheres to good practice? Or even better best practice? Fortunately, our friends at The Consultation Institute have spent ten years thinking about this in detail and they reckon they know what cuts the mustard and alternatively what consultation campaigns will turn out to be a sham. And they are happy to share this, in return for your investment, to help organisations demonstrate that they are adhering to recognised industry standards. They call it a compliance assessment. And it involves –

Ensuring the scope of the consultation is adequate

Signing off your project plan, so it will achieve meaningful consultation

Reviewing documentation to make sure the process is a fair one

Undertaking planned interventions to make sure you stay on track

Signing off your analysis plan so that people know how their views will be considered

Determining that the whole process complies with the Institute’s definition of good practice

Not everyone will pass the compliance assessment, but for those that do and most genuine consultations will the prize is a certificate of best practice. And there is probably no better way of demonstrating to your stakeholders that ,even though consultation is messy, you did a good job.

If you’d like to know more about going rough a compliance assessment please email jonathanbradley@participate.uk.com

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