Did you know that HM Government’s Code of Practice on Consultation lists 7 key consultation criteria that should be adhered to when designing and conducting public consultations?
These criteria are considered so important that they should be reproduced in consultation documents themselves.
It’s worth reproducing them in full, simply because they emphasise that equal care needs to be taken when planning a consultation as is needed when delivering one.
While many public sector organisations are seasoned at delivering consultations, planning them does present a significant number of challenges as well.
These are amplified when you have to deliver a consultation in conjunction with a number of other organisations or when, in accordance with the guidance above, you engage with stakeholders to gather evidence and understanding of issues that will need to be raised in the formal consultation.
Collaborating on consultation design
So what can you do to simplify the planning of consultations?
Over the last decade, we have seen many public sector organisations use online collaboration software to meet these challenges. Because making mistakes in the planning of public consultations can be expensive, you need to get the right people online — including colleagues, special interest groups, key stakeholder and others — to participate in pre-consultations.
By doing this, you are able to meet many of the criteria above, including ‘Clarity of Scope and Impact’ and keep the burden of consultation to a minimum. You can achieve these things by using the secure workspaces offered by online collaboration software to gather ideas, reference materials, drafts of documents, stakeholder lists and feedback in one place, where all relevant people can access it.
Vitally, you can also ask collaborators to trail consultation questions and gather feedback that helps to improve them.
But crucially, you need to choose cloud collaboration software that offers the right features. You need the right tools to work together, the right access features for different levels of user, and the right security features to ensure sensitive data is protected.
In our guide, we look at some of the crucial features you need and give you an insight into how the Health and Safety Executive collaborates with thousands of stakeholders online. You can download it from the link below.
Coming up next: Improving Stakeholder Engagement
Can’t wait? Download our free guide below — Doing more with less: 8 key issues faced by public sector