Consultation – the best form of scrutiny? – Asking citizens and customers, and making their views highly visible, might do more good than a tick-box Inspection process
Consultation is used to fulfil many objectives…….probably far too many; it’s one of the problems that leads to unwarranted expectations.
One role, however, that is seldom exploited sufficiently, but may be poised for greater significance, is that of acting as a check upon the executive.
Here’s how. In the last ten years we’ve seen a period of intense target-setting by Central Government, convinced that the best way to secure performance improvements in public bodies was to focus them on some very specific numbers. Gradually, this regime was relaxed and better Councils, for example, were excused some of the more stringent requirements.