What is the point in public consultation?

What is the point in public consultation – unless you know what you should be consulting on?

Articles on consultation in planning frequently focus on the methodologies used (online versus offline) and the potential to reach wide-ranging stakeholders (the ‘hard to reach’ or ‘seldom heard’).

But perhaps more importantly – or at least an important initial consideration – is what is consulted upon.  Do consultations work best when the community is asked very focused questions to shape the planning application? Or should people be given a blank sheet of paper on which to offer a wide range of thoughts and suggestions?

To what extent is this affected by location, sector, demographic and other variables? Should the approach be determined by the timing of the consultation in the planning schedule – more general earlier on, more focused as the submission date approaches?

My ebook, Considering Consultation Content, the first in a series entitled People in Planning published by the consultation specialist Bang the Table, addresses all these questions and more. 

The ebook can be downloaded directly here, or found on the Bang the Table website.