There are literally 100s of consultation tactics and with the advent of online consultation that list is growing by the day.
So here are some ideas to help you select the most appropriate tactics for your consultation.
Accessibility – do the tactics selected give all sections of the community an opportunity to comment?
- Analysis – consider the outputs required for a convincing consultation report, including achieving a balance of qualitative and quantitative responses
- Anonymity – consider the benefits and drawbacks in relation to the consultation’s objectives
- Appeal – make it fun
- Balance innovation and more established methods
- Cost – do the chosen tactics fall within the consultation budget?
- Ease – avoid requesting unnecessary information or making it difficult for individuals to respond
- Mix old and new means of communication to appeal to the various demographic groups within the community
- Past successes – consider what has worked well in the past, or discuss successful local consultations with the local authority and local groups
- Time – assume no prior knowledge; give people time to digest information
- Variety – don’t rely on just one method: different tactics appeal to different people
Bear in mind that too many consultation tactics can be as harmful as too few – not only because it can confuse the audience, but because evaluation becomes a nightmare! Following these suggestions will, I hope, enable you to pick the right tactics for your consultation.
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.