The Democratic Society have recently completed a short project exploring how the experience of online consultations, as run by Whitehall, can be improved. The project was funded by the Government Digital Service.
Using Demsoc’s in-house expertise in democracy and in the existing process of consultations, we identified the specific types of individuals and organisations involved in the consultation process – from civil servants and Ministers, through to the wide range of individuals and organisations that may respond to consultations.
We carried out interviews with experts, exploring international best practice and researched the platforms currently used for broad consultative purposes, and looked at current trends.
Our project partners, the design agency Snook, carried out user research to understand the motivations and behaviours attached to the process.
We produced a report and presentation covering our findings, exploring the current barriers to engagement on the current GOV.UK consultations website, and providing six broad recommendations to support them to improve online consultations.
We will publish this report on our website soon.