Avoiding the Blame Game – There are good, and less good, reasons for going to consultation
In the dozens of Consultation Strategies received by the Institute there are countless lists of reasons for undertaking consultation exercises. On average there are six to ten objectives, often liberally sprinkled with the latest fashionable buzz-words.
Yet one of the most persistent reasons why people undertake consultations is seldom ever mentioned. It is literally taboo!
This is the organisation of a consultation exercise as a mechanism for spreading responsibility for difficult decisions. “Yes, we know it’s unpopular, but we did go to consultation over it”. That type of thing. A less charitable label would be cover-your-backside consultation.
In one sense, this is perfectly defensible. Decisions can be controversial, and it is right to point out to those who subsequently criticise, that they may have had an opportunity to express their views at an earlier stage. Consultees can and do have a habit of conveniently forgetting that they were asked their opinions!