Tuesday, 20 February 2007


The great theme of modern politics is 'consultation' - from national government down to district councils everyone's doing it - and is often required to do it.

Often it is hard to find out about consultations that are happening, and whether they are important or not. I'm going to try to make things a bit more open by posting consultations that I think are important.

Of course - 'consultation' can mean many things including:

endorsement: this is what we're going to do - agree with us

validation: this is what we are doing - tell us how well we're doing it

options: eg you're going to get an incinerator in SE Northumberland - would you like it here, here or here?

consultation: tell us what you think, though we can't guarantee we'll change anything

scoping: we've appointed consultants but they don't know the area, can you tell them what they need to do

On the other hand - there are good and effective forms of consultation (like design by enquiry, village design statements) which are inclusive and do work if you get everyone affected involved from the beginning. Let me know if you can think of any ways the Council can make its consultations more effective.

Unfortunately – people don’t seem to respond to a general consultation with no clear proposals – but if there is a clear proposal – even if it’s an ‘Aunt Sally’ to be knocked down, they assume that it’s all cut and dried and the consultation is a sham. If we’re going to have real consultation – we’re going to need to re-educate people first.

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