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Online consultation tools

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Lots of departments around government have been asking what we’re planning to do about consultations. We realised that we’ve been thinking so hard about it that we’ve not been telling you properly. So, here goes.

1. We are not going to build a new platform for consultations. There are plenty of good tools out there, and many departments are already using different platforms for different sorts of consultation. If you’d like to know what’s available, and what might be appropriate for your specific consultation, we can definitely help you there. (See point 4 below.)

2. Although Inside Government won’t include a one-size-fits-all consultation product, it will have a clear and useful way of linking to the consultations that departments run. We’ll make it easy for you to add links to your consultations, and for users to be able to discover them (by department, and probably by policy area). Users will know when your consultations open and close, and how to get involved. And once you publish the outcome of your consultation you’ll be able to link to that too.

3. If you use a consultation platforms that provides an API (like Delib’s CitizenSpace for example) we will be able to use that to ensure that Inside Government makes it even easier for you to link to your consultations and to automatically know when they open and close.

4. We will provide help and guidance for policymaking and comms teams. We’ve already begun a conversation about consultations and open policymaking and based on those discussions we’ll be pulling together some useful principles, advice, examples and a ‘matrix’ of digital engagement tools together with their strengths and weaknesses.

Hopefully that helps demystify things a bit.

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