The second rung of the ladder – The role of consultation in the famous Ladder of Participation is not always understood
Sherry Arnstein’s Ladder of Participation (and its variants) is well known to many people who work in the field of public or stakeholder consultation. It starts with information giving at the bottom, moves up to consultation then ascends still further through involvement to acting together and finally to supporting community organisations who effectively run things themselves.
The trouble is that people have many different – and self-serving – views of what consultation is, or should be, on this ladder of community engagement. Stakeholders with a cause to promote frequently find consultation a frustrating experience. Ideally they would like to operate higher up the ladder, and assume even greater influence on the decisions taken or the programmes implemented.