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Our consultation principles

All our consultations are guided by our consultation principles:

We will consult on key issues and proposals

We will consult on significant decisions, being those which meet one or more of the criteria below:

  • Decisions which are likely to have a significant impact on a particular group of service users, residents or businesses
  • Where there is or is likely to be widespread public interest
  • When we have made a written commitment to do so or previously consulted

We will consult in good time

In order to consult residents and interested parties in good time, we will take into consideration: the size of the group to be consulted, the resources needed, the urgency, the methods the council intends to use and complexity of the issues involved. Where possible we will:

  • Consult early in the development of the change and well in advance of the decision-making process, where proposals are still at an informative stage
  • Set a timeframe which is realistic and proportionate and allows enough time for consideration and response. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature and impact of the proposal. Please note that in some cases consultation will be conducted in a condensed timeframe, for example in an emergency, when we would need to act quickly to respond to circumstances outside of the Council’s control or react to a national priority e.g. COVID
  • Be clear about the overall timetable for the decision-making process
  • Take into consideration any impact that holiday periods may have on the proposed consultation
  • Take into consideration any impact that national and local election periods may have on the proposed consultation
  • Be clear that responses received within given timescales will be taken into consideration.

We will be inclusive but within clear and appropriate limits

Our residents and communities have different needs and views. We aim to ensure that everyone who wishes to have a say can do so. The form of the consultation will be proportionate and will depend on the issues under consideration, the scale of change and any required legal processes. In order to provide as good a service as possible, we will:

  • Strive to use more than one channel to enable residents and stakeholders to be involved and provide feedback during a consultation period, for example: through our website, social media, online surveys and paper formats (when requested or needed)
  • Invite interested stakeholders to take part. This will include those people who are likely to be affected; individuals, a group or groups, or the public as a whole, depending on the nature of the proposed decision
  • Avoid potential discrimination, ensuring views are gathered from those who fall within the equality protected characteristics
  • Ensuring we provide information in alternative formats upon request
  • Not publish any personal information without expressed consent

We will consult using clear, simple information

We will seek to publicise information which is clear and simple. We will:

  • Provide sufficient information about the proposal(s)
  • Communicate in plain English and avoid jargon and acronyms
  • Be clear about the purpose of the consultation, including the aspects of the decision which are open to change
  • Be clear about the questions being asked but leave an opportunity for further comment where appropriate

We will ensure responses are taken into account when decisions are made

In making a decision we will take into account the views expressed as part of a consultation, weighing those views alongside other relevant considerations, including operational, financial, policy and legal considerations. Where it is practical, we will publish information about the findings of consultations and how the decision was influenced by those findings. In these cases we will:

  • Publish on our website, in good time after the consultation has closed, the number of responses received and a summary of the information on the views collected. This may be as part of the decision-making report
  • Publish clear information about the decision once it has been made on our website.

When this content has been updated

Last updated 5 September 2023