Conducting a Public Consultation (in-house)

CPD/APC Credits: 25

Public consultation is evolving rapidly, with a new emphasis on stakeholder involvement at all phases of change programmes. In addition to greater public/stakeholder participation at the pre-consultation phase, and the post-consultation period, the conduct of the all-important dialogue is critical. With greater expectations and a wider range of techniques for gathering consultee views, consultation professionals need to be fully aware of the possibilities and pitfalls.

Experience shows that developing consultation papers and working with the range of online and social media channels pose particular challenges. Consultation professionals need to be nimble and imaginative in real-time problem solving and in helping seldom-heard groups be heard.

This one-day course tackles typical consultation issues through a worked example to illustrate potential pitfalls; it provides delegates with solid techniques to select the best dialogue mix and to deliver them to best practice standards

Who is it for?

Ideal for consultation professionals who have a good general understanding of public engagement & consultation or public policy and want to learn more about the organisation of a best practice consultation

Course Aims

  • To equip participants to develop and organise the full range of consultation dialogues, building upon the Institute’s experience of best practice.
  • To demonstrate effective ways to engage with citizens and stakeholder organisations during a contentious public consultation, using a fully-worked example of proposals affecting thousands of people and local communities.
  • To help participants deliver a robust dialogue plan able to withstand external scrutiny
  • To provide participants with the know-how to offer decision-makers meaningful data to assist with making difficult choices.

 Key Learning Points

  • How to conduct a consultation dialogue that meets best practice standards
  • How to write a consultation narrative conforming to six essential ingredients
  • The choice of dialogue methods and the best ways to optimise the dialogue mix
  • How to solve operational problems and challenges during the course of a public consultation
  • How to handle post-consultation issues including best practice analysis and feedback

Detailed Content

The Course will include the following:

  • Welcome, Introduction and Roundtable
  • The Project Plan
  • Consultation standards (including the Consultation Charter)
  • Understanding potential consultees
  • Developing a Consultation narrative: observing the six standards
  • The range of engagement methods
  • Planning the right dialogue mix
  • Common pitfalls in consultation dialogues
  • Problem solving during consultation periods
  • The challenge of Analysis
  • The five fundamentals of feedback
  • The active consideration period
  • Decision-time?

The Course is highly interactive using brainstorming, individual, group and plenary exercises to gather participants’ ideas, experience and challenges as part of the learning process. As in other Institute training courses, the use of a realistic scenario illustrates the issues arising in the day-to-day lives of communications/engagement staff as well as consultation specialists.

This is the seamless follow-up to the companion Course, Preparing a Public Consultation. It uses the same worked example to demonstrate the pre-consultation activities that led to the proposals being consulted upon in Conducting a Public Consultation.

There can be advantages in attending both in rapid succession and the Institute can offer a two-day, back-to-back package for in-house delivery.