Should we have a consultation finder?

Interesting discussion on Twitter about whether there should be a Government Consultation Finder, sparked by this post from Jo Brodie. Andy from Delib pointed us at their list of current Citizenspace consultations, while Mark from GDS said that there were discussions underway on creating such a thing as part of the consultation work. I worry, […]

We can’t improve consultation without talking about class

Discussions about consultation often focus on methods and means, but of course there’s a broader social context to engagement. Declining trust in political institutions and weakening identification with the mainstream political parties threaten to undermine efforts to engage people in new ways. In short: we need to talk about class. This project is about citizen action and […]

The Matrix Reloaded: Building the database

In an earlier post I talked about the six outcomes that policy makers are working towards when engaging on or discussing policy with the public. In this post, I’d like to: explore the best way to map successful (or otherwise useful) case studies detailing consultation or digital engagement exercises to these six outcomes. explore the best […]

The Matrix: Delivering the Right Outcomes

There were several useful comments in response to my first post in which I set out six outcomes that I think policymakers hope to achieve when they engage or consult with citizens on issues related to policy. Ahead of my next post on the design of the proposed Matrix tool, I thought I’d update the […]

Should there be a ‘duty to involve’ for national policy?

As Edward Andersson from Involve noted in his recent blog reviewing the new consultation principles issued by government: ”Today consultation has, for many citizens, become a byword for formalistic, tick box exercises, done to mask a decision which is already a ‘done deal’.” Edward rightly suggested that the new principles, while important, fall short of […]

What is GDS doing about… online consultation tools?

Now that the launch of GOV.UK is imminent, lots of departments around government have been asking how we’re planning to support access to consultations. We realised that while we’ve been thinking very hard about it, we’ve not been telling you properly. So, here goes: We are not going to build a new platform for consultations. […]

Does consultation work on principle?

Consultation is the most common way that Local and Central Government engages with the public. The International Association for Public Participation defines Consultation as “To obtain public feedback on analysis, alternatives and/or decisions”. My local council Haringey has listed 38 Consultations so far this year and I have seen estimates that Central Government runs somewhere […]

Consultation overload

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 […]

Consultation can’t fix our broken politics – we need new ways to engage the public in policymaking

Is consultation broken – or is it our political system? Consultation seems to have become the lightening rod for general discontents about politics and policymaking. Let’s improve consultation – but let’s also rethink how we do policy and politics at the same time. In this Open Policy project with the Democratic Society in association with […]