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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).

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  • 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.
  • Decisions;
  • Results representative of society as a whole;
  • Consensus/Shared vision;
  • Better relationships between stakeholders.

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