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Being heard properly in a public consultation – Are you hearing me? How often are consultees unsure who has been listening to them?

Janice Turner is a respected columnist for ‘The Times’ and last week she turned her fire on Keith Vaz MP. Her criticism was not his personal behaviour per se but what she regards as the hypocrisy of the Home Affairs Select Committee he chaired. The issue is an emotive one, the case for the decriminalisation of prostitution, and Turner is one of those who have been arguing in favour of a ‘sex buyer’ statute as has been introduced in some Scandinavian countries and also now in France.

Ms Turner says she is a trustee of a small charity that supports women in street prostitution and had drafted her evidence and sent it to the Select Committee. From her article:
“I expected the committee to take evidence from one of the professional team, who spend long nights talking to shivering women on the streets. But we heard nothing. And when the Interim Report was published in July, not a word of our submission was included. Nor were the views of about 20 similar charities who support the Nordic model ….”


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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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