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Best Practice Budget Consultations

A Consultation Institute Workshop for local authorities

CPD/APC Credits:  15

Rationale 

Local authorities are required to consult their residents.

Over the years, most Councils have evolved a mechanism for achieving this, though many have faced judicial reviews from pressure groups or citizens anxious about changes to cherished public services.

Because of the intensely political nature of high-level budget decisions, officials have often felt constrained in their ability to insist on particular consultation practices at the early stages of budget allocations. They have, generally, however been able to secure a consistent approach to wider public consultation once detailed proposals have been prepared.

Many officials and elected members feel uneasy about current practice, particularly since the KE v Bristol CC judicial review in 2018. They think it may be time to reconsider whether they are undertaking this task in the most appropriate way. This Workshop should help.

Basic Content

As soon as possible after agreeing the assignment, an experienced, trained Institute Associate will research the Council’s existing practices , discuss the overall financial outlook with the client and propose a detailed agenda for the Workshop normally involving 8 – 16 people.

Under normal circumstances an experienced Institute Associate will facilitate a 3 hour Session consisting of four major elements.

Session One:   How well does our current budget consultation process work

  • Facilitated SWOT analysis
  • 360 degree view – what do other stakeholders think

Session Two:   Challenges and constraints

  • Recent legal challenges and their implications
  • Any specific relevance to local ‘hot topics’

Session Three: Current best practice – would they be appropriate here?

  • Programme teams
  • Issue papers and options development
  • The role of stakeholders – and the public
  • Co-production
  • New trends – eg Public consultation hearings

Session Four:   Moving forward

  • How to apply the learning
  • Training/development needs

Conclusions and Close

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