The Art of Consultation was a book waiting to be written!
Over ten thousand public servants in the UK – and many others in the private and voluntary sectors – engage in formal consultations, and it’s time their efforts were celebrated, and their challenges properly addressed.
There’s a multi-million pound industry out there, currently asking us what we think. Lots of this is public money, and we believe much of it is wasted. Whilst a great deal of consultation is seriously effective, some of it is downright dishonest; decision-makers have already made up their minds. If they then consult, it’s a waste of everyone’s time; they are just going through the motions. That’s all!
In The Art of Consultation, we’ve tried hard to describe the consultation culture that has engulfed us all. We’re honest about what goes wrong, but we’re also enthusiastic in seeing so much that goes right. There is a positive future for the best in consultation, and we finish our analysis in optimistic mode, for only by engaging with people – as customers or citizens, can some of our most intractable social and political problems be fixed. That makes it important for everyone involved in these decisions. This book is for them ... and for all of us who wish to influence them.