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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.


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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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