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Going the extra mile!

The part consultation plays in mitigation strategies

We have all learnt to be a bit careful believing what we read on the side of a bus! But what struck us about the local bus as it passed the Institute Headquarters this week was the advertisement for a cheaper fare to the hospital.

Who was responsible? The local NHS has been centralising services at Bedford’s South Wing hospital for a while, and maybe it wants to ease the difficulties of reaching the South Wing site. The local authority has been loud in opposing some of these changes and is strongly defending its local hospital. Perhaps it has chosen to subsidise the service? A third possibility is that the enterprising family firm that now has the contract for local routes wants to show its community credentials – or it’s just a marketing campaign.

In a sense, it does not matter who can claim the credit – it’s still welcome and illustrates the small-scale practical responses, that are possible when creative minds apply themselves to the consequences of change in public services.

We need more emphasis on mitigation – the search for actions that can help members of the public use services or find alternatives to traditional practices. In principle, it should not be difficult, but is too often just an afterthought.


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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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