We consult by a variety of methods, both formal and informal, and adapt our methods to the issue on which we are consulting. Our aim is to undertake meaningful engagement with our stakeholders throughout our decision making process.
For significant policy and legislative changes we will undertake a formal consultation. We publish all consultations on our website and notify our stakeholders by email and send out paper copies to those who do not have access to email. We generally issue formal consultations for at least 12 weeks, although for some more urgent or minor issues, we consider a shorter period or alternative consultation methods.
We supplement formal written consultation with other engagement methods suited to stakeholder needs, and that are most effective based on the particular issue under consultation. In certain cases we rely on informal methods alone, provided this is proportionate and appropriate to do so.
Engagement methods we use include:
- issuing letters to Interested Parties to obtain their views.
- face-to-face meetings with individuals or small groups of stakeholders
- public meetings
- focus groups, professional or social networks
We take into account access needs and can provide the consultation documents in alternative formats such as Braille.
In our consultation documents, we aim to:
- use plain English and avoid using jargon, abbreviations and acronyms wherever possible
- be transparent about what decisions stakeholders can influence, by being clear about the scope of our consultations and what we are seeking views on
- provide clear information about how to respond and get involved in any consultation events or activities
- provide an assessment of the impact of any proposals to identify the benefits, costs and risks
- set out what will happen after the consultation exercise closes.
We usually provide specific questions to focus attention on key issues and to encourage stakeholders to provide evidence and reasoning to support their views.
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