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The whole is greater … … – than the sum of the parts …

It has long been asserted that a public consultation is fault-intolerant. By this we mean that one can be successful at almost everything required but fail on one relatively small aspect yet bring the entire consultation crashing down. Or so it seems.

Many a consultor has felt this way when brought to the Courts. However in practice, recent judicial reviews have tended to focus not on the details of dialogue methods but more about the intent and integrity of consultations. In the words of Mr Justice Turner in last month’s case of     R (ex parte Gate …) v Secretary of State for Transport & Lancashire CC,

“..a decision following a consultation process is not unlawful simply because it is possible in hindsight to conceive of a process that would have been an improvement on that which was actually carried out.”


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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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