Sunday, 7 August 2011

Time for a 'Consultation Charter'?

There was an interesting exchange between Cllr Helga Gladbaum and Fiona Edden the Borough Solicitor at Monday's Scrutiny Committee. Cllr Gladbaum said that the Council seemed to be involved in a large number of consultations and asked about the statutory requirements.

Edden replied that consultation can mean a huge number of different things. She said that detailed requirements were  not clear on issues other than those such as individual care and day care and that statutory requirements were few. She remarked that three month consultations did not necessarily produce anything useful. Requirements were flexible and often nebulous and the Council tried to be as practicable as possible.

I have discussed the confusion over consultations on this blog before and how residents are often disenchanted with the results LINK . Certainly controversy over the timing and extent of consultation is a regular feature of the local press (this week over parking charges in Preston Road and Bridge Road).  Fiona' Edden's response does indicate a lack of clarity and because of the lack of statutory guidelines this may not be the Council's fault. However a 'Consultation Charter' might be useful setting out what the Council will consult about and who it will consult, and how the consultation results will be evaluated and used, may help make things a little clearer.

1 comment:

Ian Anstice said...

Council consultations (or the lack of them) in respect of libraries at least is addressed at

An inadequate consultation can cause real problems for everyone.