Panels with a Purpose – Given the choice between consulting the willing or the unwilling, most of us will choose the former!
Citizens Panels have now come of age, and play an important role in Local Government consultation. They have, however, their detractors. Some claim that once people become members of a panel for a while they cease being a typical or representative member of the public, and their views cannot therefore be extrapolated for the population as a whole. Others find that they prefer to engage with members of the public afresh whenever a new consultation is initiated, and are wary of the professional consultee.
Against this is the undoubted advantage that people who join Citizens Panels are the willing, and consultors are assured of reasonably high response rates and the ability to track the changing perceptions of a defined group over time.