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Credit will be given for other relevant points made and relevant examples (10)
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SL Examination Guide June 2015 Page 18 (b) To carry out consultation effectively, the organisation needs to produce a consultation strategy, clearly identifying its stakeholders, assessing their position and then producing a plan of how and when consultation will take place. (1) Challenges for the organisation include making sure that consultation is inclusive. (1) Using the example of a local authority consulting residents about Council Tax proposals, a consultation process carried out solely through its website would exclude those residents who don’t, or can’t, use the internet. (1) Conducting the consultation only in English would exclude any residents whose English is not sufficiently good to understand and respond. (1) Hard-to-reach groups may be excluded (elderly, some minority groups, people with disabilities who may be unable to read the material, for example). (1) There is a risk that only those who hold strong views will respond so the outcome could be skewed by the views of a small number of stakeholders who feed into the process.(1) To be successful, the views received should be representative of the constituency as a whole. Policing and enforcing this is problematic, however. (1) The authority could use existing user groups and voluntary sector organisations to provide feedback and information from wider groups; this could help with inclusion as well (1). Another difficulty is managing the expectations of stakeholders. If a local authority is seeking consultation on only a small proportion of its total budget, it needs to make this clear and give an idea of the scale of decisions that stakeholders are being invited to influence. (1) Giving feedback on the input received from stakeholders is essential not only to advise all stakeholders (not just those who contributed to the process, but all those with an interest in the results), but also to make it more likely that stakeholders will participate in a similar process in the future. (1) No feedback would mean stakeholders would be increasingly reluctant to take part in the process because there is no indication that they have even been listened to. (1) Enough time has to be given for the consultation; in the Lewisham example, it was widely thought, by residents and other commentators, that 30 days for consultation on proposals that were seen by residents as having far-reaching and negative effects on the provision of health care, was insufficient and did not provide enough time for affected parties to participate fully in the consultation. (1) The organisation needs to have an idea of the likely position of those they are consulting. In the Lewisham example, the strength of feeling from the public and health care professionals was immense, as they viewed the proposals as an assault on their health service provision and believed they would be worse off if the proposals went ahead. This is a good example of
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