What is consultation?

Consultation is technically any activity that gives local people a voice and an opportunity to influence important decisions. It involves listening to and learning from local people before decisions are made or priorities are set.  Surveys would fall under the heading of consultation, but the term is usually applied when talking about activities where different parties are trying to reach an agreement or for more formal or detailed pieces of work aimed at finding out what residents think about significant changes or proposals that affect them,

  • to improve planning, policy and decision making
  • to make better use of resources
  • to access new information, ideas and suggestions
  • to encourage greater participation in the activities of the council
  • to govern by consent (a full and fair consultation, with careful consideration of all views, can strengthen the legitimacy of the prevailing view among those people not in favour of the final decision)
  • to measure residents’ satisfaction with the council
  • to shape council activities around residents’ needs and aspirations

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