The Consultation Charter – The 7 Best Practice Principles
Taking important policy decisions today both in Public bodies and in the Private and Voluntary Sectors is a far cry from the traditional ways of decision-making.
Two seminal trends drive the change. One is the steady growth in transparency, which is evident well beyond organisations, which are democratically accountable. The other is an increase in popular participation, as greater awareness and new technologies enable more people to express an opinion on important issues.
These and a number of other factors all contribute towards an explosion of activity – loosely called consultation, but also known as public participation, engagement or a range of other terminology. (See the Glossary of Consultation Terms – currently available to Institute Members)
Unsurprisingly, the sheer amount of consultation has led to a wide range of output and outcomes, ranging from poor to excellent and there is much scope to introduce improved standards and to encourage innovation.
There are, as yet few recognised standards covering consultation, and the Institute has therefore adopted this Charter whilst more detailed standards emerge. Since its initial publication, it has received widespread support, and is now observed by many organisations worldwide.
The Institute has developed a range of Quality Assurance services whereby it can deploy its own specialist Associates to conduct an assessment of specific consultation exercises – or parts thereof. In conducting such assessments, Institute Advisers or Assessors have regard to the principles of this Charter.
For consultation to yield its true benefits and to assist in the process of evidence based decision-making, it needs to take account of seven Best Practice principles:
- Fair Intepretation
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