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Consultation – or just another survey? – Surveys can be useful in gathering information – but do not amount to consultation on their own. Don't confuse "Let's do a survey!" with a true commitment to consult!

Consultation is such a popular idea that the label is increasingly being misused to describe activities which aren’t quite ……….

There is already a thin dividing line between some so-called consultation exercises and blatant PR. I have in mind the glossy brochure that effectively says, “We think we’re wonderful. Now tell us what YOU think!”. An analysis of feedback from such documents might just prove valuable – but consultation? Hardly!

A similar danger exists with surveys. Asking people questions, and getting an instant opinion-poll result is certainly one way of gathering data about what people think.


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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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