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What happens next? – The essence of a consultation exercise depends upon what happens afterwards

One of the most frequently asked questions is “What’s the difference between market research (or social research) and consultation?”

Sometimes the question comes from experienced researchers who, for years have worked in public bodies and supplied Chief Officers and Committees with important background material, and who have, in recent years been busy with Government-inspired satisfaction surveys and other initiatives. Sometimes the question comes from Councillors or Board members still struggling to understand the dynamics of consultation.

What causes the confusion is that consultation often uses the techniques of market research, but differs from market research in the use that is made of the data. In other words much depends on what happens next?


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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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