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Becoming a Consultation “Whizz-Kid”? – Joking aside, now is the time to recognise the skills and expertise of consultation specialists

New technology has its ‘internet geeks’; private enterprise calls the young turks with MBAs and suchlike ‘high-flyers’; Chief Executive’s departments have their fair share of ‘policy wonks’; but what do we call those who have acquired the skills of organising and acting on public and stakeholder consultations?

The absence of a label reflects the speed with which consultation has risen up the agenda. A few years ago, it would be perfectly normal for service providers or policy officers to undertake the odd survey or run the occasional focus group. These were subsidiary skills – useful if you have them, but inessential in most environments. The way in which consultations were done mattered relatively little, and such choice as existed boiled down to a simple equation: use the techniques you know … or bring in consultants to use the ones you don’t.


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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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