Government consultations don’t stand on their own – they compete in a marketplace of political engagement opportunities national, local, formal and informal. An interesting snapshot of how crowded that marketplace is comes from Brighton & Hove, where the strategic partnership have undertaken an audit of all “significant or major” consultation activity planned across the local public sector in the 2012/3 financial year.
The research shows that the different public sector organisations plan on undertaking at least eighty significant consultation exercises this year, just in Brighton & Hove, a city of 260,000 people. Many of those are on very local issues, such as new schools and libraries, which will have a direct impact on people in the places where they live.
That’s a tough market in which to attract audiences to broad central government consultations.