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Careful with Questions! – The art of structuring a quality consultation exercise lies in the skilful drafting of the questions you want answered…..

With talk of referendums in the air, we will all hear the old adage that the answer will of course depend upon the way the question is formulated. The suggestion is that clever people can always contrive to get the answer they want – just by being smart with the syntax.

No doubt there are consultors who think they can steer those whom they consult to provide an acceptable answer with a terminological slight of hand. But in practice, such subterfuge seldom works. Consultation is a little like letting the genie out of the bottle. Once opened, it’s rather difficult to control the situation, and virtually impossible to put the stopper back in again!


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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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