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Precision please – Aspects of Community Engagement are often nebulous – but Consultation is a very precise activity.

Consultation within the public sector – and sometimes in the commercial sector as well – is increasingly being placed in the wider context of community engagement.

This expression means many different things to different people, and can cause considerable confusion. Some stakeholders, eager for an enhanced voice in key decisions, see this as a platform for much greater involvement: others believe it can amount to an effective veto on policies or decisions they dislike. Terms like citizen empowerment and active citizenship cause similar problems, if only because they are vague.

So where does consultation begin and end? And when does it become community engagement?


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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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