Wednesday, July 15, 2009

consultation and information

I'm clearing my office prior to an upcoming move and I keep on finding bits and bobs from all over the place. This is from the Oxfordshire County Council Consultation Team. It's introducing the the Oxfordshire County Council Consultation Tracker which allows the public to keep in touch with ongoing consultations.

The function of the snakes should I hope be fairly clear: they're reminding you that every consultation needs to have a clear, defined format, purpose, timescale, location, method and audience. Below the snakes I've added three notes:
  • demonstrate and report effects of consultation
  • management of the empowered - empowerment of the powerless
  • increased communications is a normal outcome
The first note is very important for communicators: it's not enough just to listen and make changes based on what you've heard, these changes must then be feed back to the consulted body. The second is a reminder that the groups being consulted are going to have different levels of personal empowerment and expectations, and that these must be managed. In particular, those who feel marginalised and disempowered will need encouragement to participate. The third point is a warning; that a dialogue, once started, is likely to continue.consultation system