I am delighted to have been asked to become an Associate of The Consultation Institute (tCI), joining and network of consultants who have considerable expertise in consultation and public engagement.
The Consultation Institute fulfils the important role of promoting high-quality public and stakeholder consultation in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Never was there as more important time for a rigorous approach to community engagement – witness the mess that the European referendum has created!
As the housing crisis intensifies and the development of new homes and infrastructure increases in response, it is vital that developers and planners communicate effectively with local residents. But constructive communication is not copious communication: in our extensively networked and 24/7 culture, ‘consultation fatigue’ is a real barrier to gaining a local insight into planning proposals and maintaining good relationships with local communities during construction.
Today more than ever, consultation must be controlled and considered to be successful.
As a member of tCI’s Planning Working Group I am looking forward to working directly with planners and developers to raise standards without raising costs; also involving planners and developers in the Institute’s Quality Assurance programme, developing best practice guides and contributing to training on innovation and creativity in consultation.
Having recently written a book on the subject (Public Consultation and Community Involvement in Planning: a twenty-first century guide), I know that the development community is keen to engage with local residents in a way that is proportionate and appropriate. I also know that there is a wealth of best practice and innovative methods of communication which could be shared more effectively, and I look forward to having a role in doing so.