Public consultation is a process by which the public’s input on matters affecting them is sought. Its main goals are in improving the efficiency, transparency and public involvement in large-scale projects or laws and policies. It usually involves notification (to publicise the matter to be consulted on), consultation (a two-way flow of information and opinion exchange) as well as participation (involving interest groups in the drafting of policy or legislation).
- Opportunity to involve larger numbers of stakeholders;
- Provides written summary of options for consideration;
- Provides a questionnaire to collate responses.
- If circulating and distributing the consultation document by post is a costly exercise;
- Response rates can be low;
- Very formal process may be intimidating;
- Hard to stimulate interest;
- Consultation documents can be lengthy and difficult to understand.
- Informed responses;
- Greater legitimacy for decisions.
- Results representative of society as a whole;
- Consensus/Shared vision;
- Better relationships between stakeholders.
Level of Involvement: Engaging