Publications

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The Politics of Consultation

By Rhion Jones & Elizabeth Gammell (Paperback)

In July 2018, we published ‘The Politics of Consultation’, a work that draws extensively on the experience and insights of The Consultation Institute, which we started in 2003.

It tells the tale of, mostly, well-meaning attempts to engage with people and civil society as public bodies and others seek to respond to demands for greater involvement and participation in decision-making. Politicians are caught in the middle of this, torn between enthusiastically supporting consultation – when it suits them, and nervous of its power to delay and divert them when rushing to make change happen.

It is not an academic study but is full of stories that will resonate with anyone interested in public policy at national or local levels and those who wish to see a healthy, inclusive, participative democracy.

The time is right for a proper discussion about the role of evidence in public policy-making at all levels from the parish pump to supra-national institutions. Twenty-four-hour news, social media, direct democracy and the desire for instant gratification have all led to a dumbing down of debate. This book asserts the role that public consultation can have in safeguarding standards in this difficult area, but argues that massive improvements are needed if this is to be achieved.

Members: £20.00 + £3.60 P&P
Non-members: £30.00 + £3.60 P&P
(Delivery costs apply to the UK. An increased charge may apply for international orders)

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The Art of Consultation

By Rhion Jones & Elizabeth Gammell (Paperback)

A unique book, essential to those involved with consultations. Over ten thousand public servants in the UK and many others in the private and   voluntary sectors engage in formal consultations, and it is time their efforts were celebrated, and their challenges properly addressed.

There's a multi-million pound industry out there, currently asking us what we think. Lots of this is public money and much of it is wasted. Whilst a great deal of consultation is effective, some of it is downright dishonest; decision-makers have already made up their minds. If they then consult, it's a waste of everyone's time; they are just going through the motions. However, there is a positive future for the best in consultation, and this is an optimistic analysis. After all, only by engaging with people as customers or citizens, can some of our most intractable social and political problems be fixed.

That makes The Art of Consultation essential reading for everyone involved in these decisions. At the same time, this unique book is a practical guide to the effective implementation of consultation, and covers all the essential, up-to-date techniques to allow you to put in train consultations of the highest standard.

Members: £12.99 + £3.60 P&P
Non-members: £16.99 + £3.60 P&P
(Delivery costs apply to the UK. An increased charge may apply for international orders)

Signpost Series by Barry Creasy

The layout of the books in this series allows easy reference, and includes the use of icons to highlight tips, important information, and decision points.

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Effective Focus Groups

Published in 2007 by The Consultation Institute, Effective Focus Groups is a 40-page step-by-step guide to planning and using focus groups as part of a public consultation exercise. The book’s layout allows easy reference, and includes the use of icons to highlight tips, important information, and decision points. The following areas are covered:

  • The definition of a focus group –including recommended size and duration
  • Reasons for holding a focus group (and how it relates to other dialogue methods)
  • Saturation – how many focus groups to use
  • Participant mix, sampling, and how this affects the design
  • Planning a focus group exercise
  • Question construction, including stimuli other than spoken questions
  • Moderation skills (including techniques for discouraging dominant participants)
  • Recording and reporting a focus group
  • A brief outline of related ways of collecting information from a group
  • Bibliography – a list of further reading

Members: £10.00 + £2.00 P&P
Non-members: £14.00 + £2.00 P&P
(Delivery costs apply to the UK. An increased charge may apply for international orders)

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Effective Public Meetings

Published in 2008 by The Consultation Institute, Effective Public Meetings is a 52-page step-by-step guide to planning and running public meetings as part of a public consultation exercise; it is, so far, the only book published in the UK to cover the subject in such detail. The book’s layout allows easy reference, and includes the use of icons to highlight tips, important information, and decision points. The following areas are covered:

  • The definition of a public meeting in relation to standards of good practice in public consultation
  • Deciding when a public meeting is appropriate, and how this way of consulting fits in with other dialogue methods for consulting stakeholders and the public
  • Planning for a public meeting, including timing, venues, layout, access, and equipment.
  • Documentation, presentations and speakers
  • Getting people there – advertisement, invitations, incentives, audience-targeting, and accessibility
  • Choosing and briefing chairs and speakers
  • Staffing a public meeting (including security considerations)
  • Advice for chairs on handling participant contributions (including dealing with difficult or verbose participants)
  • Responding to questions
  • Recording, reporting and follow-up Involving the press/media

Members: £10.00 + £2.00 P&P
Non-members: £14.00 + £2.00 P&P
(Delivery costs apply to the UK. An increased charge may apply for international orders)

image-effective-surveys

Effective Surveys and Questionnaires

Published in 2008 by The Consultation Institute, Effective Surveys and Questionnaires is a 61-page step-by-step guide to planning and running a survey and writing a questionnaire as part of a public consultation exercise. The book’s layout allows easy reference, and includes the use of icons to highlight tips, important information, and decision points. The following areas are covered:

  • The definition of a survey in relation to standards of good practice in public consultation
  • Deciding when a survey is appropriate, and how this way of consulting fits in with other dialogue methods for consulting stakeholders and the public
  • Planning a survey – including choosing a survey type, formulating research questions, planning resources, and selecting a sample of respondents.
  • Constructing a questionnaire – including consideration of validity issues, question types, question wording, scaled questions, and rating and ranking
  • Question routing, layout and design – including filters and funnels, rubrics and signposts, and clarity of presentation
  • Web-based (e-)questionnaires – including a consideration of their advantages and disadvantages
  • Trialling, piloting, responses, analysis and reporting – including advice on incentives, cut-off, chasing, data cleaning, data entry, data analysis, and data reporting.

Members: £10.00 + £2.00 P&P
Non-members: £14.00 + £2.00 P&P
(Delivery costs apply to the UK. An increased charge may apply for international orders)

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