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Events…dear boy… – Why so many consultations don’t result in neat and tidy outcomes; and the need to anticipate what else might come along …

Harold Macmillan is quoted as saying “Events … dear boy …”, when asked about the most challenging aspect of being Prime Minister.

The same could be said by many consultors, when asked why the output of a consultation exercise ultimately failed to influence a key decision or policy.

Maybe it’s Murphy’s law, or just serendipity, but it is remarkable how often a consultation is carried out in good faith, only for unforeseen developments to undermine its base assumptions, and render the views obtained in the exercise irrelevant.


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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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