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ASK A SILLY QUESTION – Criticisms of Consultations often stem from mistakes made at the beginning

Confidence is a fragile commodity and nowhere has this been better demonstrated than in the recent debate following Mathew Parris’ article in The Times ( ‘Don’t ask my opinion; don’t consult, engage or include; just lead’ – February 26th)

Using the journalistic licence to exaggerate, Parris’ case was that the Edinburgh referendum on a proposed Congestion Charge was a good example of weak political leadership, and – in his words – consultation is a cop-out. The Institute published a robust response entitled In Defence of Consultation, but the fact remains that Parris has a point, and that there are many people that agree with him.


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About the Author

Rhion Jones is considered a leading authority on Public Engagement and Consultation. A founding Director of the Consultation Institute, he is co-author of “The Art of Consultation” (2009) and “The Politics of Consultation” (2018). He has delivered over 500 training courses and Masterclasses and is a prolific writer on the subject, having written over 350 different Topic papers and over 50 full Briefing Papers for the Institute. Since 2003 over 15,000 person-days of training based on courses he invented have been delivered. Rhion is in demand as an entertaining Keynote Speaker and Special Adviser, particularly on the Law of Consultation, and its implications for Government and other Public Bodies. In 2017, he was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’.

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