Consulting the Public: Guidelines and Good Practice


The 1980s and 1990s have witnessed growing debate about the quality and efficiency of public services. The emphasis in the continuing restructuring of public services is on performance, efficiency and standards - and an essential step towards these goals is the process of communication between the service users and providers, through which the provider becomes more responsive and accountable to the public.

Consulting the Public gives practical guidance to all those responsible for public consultation and participation through an analysis of 14 detailed case studies of consultation projects, ranging from ‘Speak out!’ - the Bradford Residents’ Consultation Panel - to the Liverpool Tate Museum’s ‘Young Tate’ project; from the Lewisham Citizens’ Jury to the Science Museum’s Consensus Conference on Bioengineering in Food. Through their analysis of these and other case studies, the authors

  • identify the components of effective consultation and participation by studying a range of different types of exercise
  • explore the processes by which the results are used to inform policy and service delivery
  • assess the influence of consultation on planning, resource allocation and management, standards of service and public satisfaction, and
  • give practical guidance on the selection and use of different methods in delivering public service organisation.

These in-depth assessments of case study consultation programmes will inform all those responsible for managing public services, and provide valuable background to the issues for students on a range of information and government studies courses.

ISBN: 0 85374 727 X