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Consultation Methods - How to?
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Engaging hard to reach groups
Choosing a methods
Planning and process design
Preparing a consultation strategy
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Planning heading

Choosing a method is only part of developing a consultation plan. An overall process must be designed to fit the particular issue.

In general, the process design might be as follows:

  1. Identify the issue, project or policy about which consultation is to occur.
  2. Ensure that a consultation plan is part of the overall project plan and it is agreed that adequate resources will be committed to the consultation process.
  3. Clearly identify the goal of the consultation process.
  4. Look at the range of activities and suggested methods under Choosing a Method - How to? Remember this is only meant to serve as a guide for you.
  5. Look at the consultation method options for that category of issue. The option you choose will depend on a number of factors including:
    • Complexity of the issue
    • What the targets groups (affected parties) are
    • Whether the target groups are easy to access
    • Whether the consultation will be "open" or "closed"
    • How much time and what level of resourcing is available
    • Who in the council is managing/auspicing the consultation process and who will be doing the work
  6. Having chosen a preferred method, test it against the Principles of Good Consultation to ensure these issues are being addressed.
  7. Make sure that advertising is eye-catching, distinctive and exciting
  8. When implementing the method, be sure that venue quality and participant comfort are carefully handled. A good quality, interesting environment and plentiful refreshments will enhance the process.
  9. Information should be readable, catchy and feature pictures and cartoons where possible allowing participants to make informed comment on the issue
  10. Ensure participants are clear about the consultation process, how the information they give is going to be used and how the decision will be made. Where possible, allow participants to have input into these processes.
  11. Use feedback and evaluation processes. Where possible, feedback should occur during and at the end of consultation to give the benefits of feedback loops.
  12. Stick to agreed timelines and commitments. This will give participants more faith in the process
  13. Be adventurous and creative. Don't be afraid to try something new and take advantage of the resource bases and support which are available from the Local Government Division and the VLGA.

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