Here’s an interesting post we came across that we’d like to share
Simon Clark finds that more than two-thirds of submissions on anti-tobacco measures in Britain were form letters from government-funded anti-tobacco lobby groups.
But was there really huge public support for further tobacco controls, as the DH suggested? Of the 96,515 responses the overwhelming majority were pre-written postcards or e-mail campaigns. A total of 49,507 were generated by Smokefree Northwest, 8,128 by Smokefree North East, and a further 10,757 from something called D-MYST.
A simple investigation revealed that all three are publicly-funded. Smokefree Northwest is led by the DH’s regional tobacco policy manager in Manchester; Smoke Free North East is funded by the region’s primary care trusts and is linked to an alliance of health, public sector and community organisations; and D-MYST is SmokeFree Liverpool’s youth organisation.
In short, this wasn’t a public consultation at all. It was a public sector consultation.
What do people think about public consultation being used as an arena for lobbying? Is this what consultation is for? Should be for? Or do the rules of transparency mean that lobbying has no place in public consultation?