From my experience, people who work in the field of public consultation and stakeholder engagement can struggle to stick up for themselves, to talk about their value.
I think the job of a consultation manager is very important. I tell people that they need to talk about the Three Rs of Consultation: RISK, REPUTATION AND REWARD.
Consultation managers handle a lot of risk for their organisation. Many complex changes have to go to consultation by law, or there is an expectation that they will. Things like major developments and big infrastructure projects have to undertake pre-application consultation. If the consultation manager lets their organisation get it wrong then they could end up in court and/or create many delays for their project. A poor consultation can also lead to unnecessary and costly delays in implementation. So a well designed consultation potentially has a high rate of investment and the consultation manager’s advice may often save the day!
Many people do not have much contact with their local authority, their health service or a national house builder. Consultation can quickly change this when people get involved in an issue they have a stake in. When this happens the consultation manager needs to ensure that the consultation is fair, people can access information, they can have have some influence and decisions have not already been made. If the consultation manager can’t make this happen then the reputation of the organisation is in jeopardy and may struggle to recover.
A well designed consultation will help decision makers to make a better decisions. People may learn something new, alter their plans and maybe save money by doing so. A consultation manager will help their organisation to benefit from their consultation.
All hail the consultation manager! What say you?
Post by Jonathan Bradley