Skip to content

The Magnet – Are some people more suited to the practice of consultation ?

A woman I know is a Samaritan.

Whether by instinct or by training, she is remarkably good at listening. People want to tell her their feelings; they will readily unburden before her. And although she seldom offers solutions, her ability to respond empathetically often makes her confidante feel a lot better. Like others in many voluntary bodies, she succeeds fundamentally because she cares.

The analogy with public and stakeholder consultation is strong. Those of us charged with organising a listening exercise are regularly faced with a credibility barrier. It is not that people or community groups don’t have views; they just lack confidence that anyone will genuinely listen to them. They see public bodies consulting because the law says they must …or because the Audit Commission gives them more stars …. or because it is now fashionable to do so. What they crave for is a consultor who passionately wants to hear what they have to say.


Access to this content is exclusively for Institute members

Not a member? Unlock this article and more today by signing up for a Consultation Institute membership. Benefit from access to over 300 Topic Papers and Briefing Notes, discounted rates on all public training and more. Click on Join Now today to find out more and sign up.

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’.

Read more about Rhion

Scroll To Top