The consultation mandate

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Have you ever responded to a development consultation where there is a clear consultation mandate in place? As a local resident, have you been presented with a document which sets out who the consultation is for, what it’s about, what it intends to achieve, how the results will be used and how you’ll be informed of the result?

Many of us probably haven’t been on the receiving end of a consultation which is so clear, so open and honest and so committed to the local residents involved. This is a shame, as there’s no reason why a developer shouldn’t put this in place, as it hugely benefits ongoing community relations as I’ve found.

A consultation mandate is simply a distillation of the consultation strategy for use by local residents. As the document will be read by a wide variety of people in a wide variety of circumstances, it is imperative that it is clear and concise, using plain language and a simple, accessible form.

Typically, a consultation mandate will include the following information:

  • The organisation running the consultation
  • The target audience
  • The aims and objectives of the consultation
  • The subject for discussion
  • Potential impact of consultation
  • The organisation initiating the change post-consultation
  • Timings

Try it out! Providing you state that the document is flexible and publish any updates on the consultation website, there’s nothing to lose.

Penny Norton

Penny’s book Public Consultation and Community Involvement in Planning: a twenty-first century guide is published by Routledge in June 2017.  Please email Penny to receive notification of its publication.