73 Ocean Street, New South Wales 2000, SYDNEY

Contact Person: Callum S Ansell
E: [email protected]
P: (02) 8252 5319


22 Guild Street, NW8 2UP,

Contact Person: Matilda O Dunn
E: [email protected]
P: 070 8652 7276


Genslerstraße 9, Berlin Schöneberg 10829, BERLIN

Contact Person: Thorsten S Kohl
E: [email protected]
P: 030 62 91 92

What role can Public Consultation can Play


Public consultation

Just like the Commonwealth is readily accountable for increment of ongoing prosperity of member countries through advancing economic growth, social development, and the following of human rights, the Public consultation process is no exception. Public consultation, or typically consultation, is a systematic process to improve the criterion of democratic governance by making government immersed in consulting their citizenry on the key yet the highly overlooked public issues in order to resolve them.

While one would ponder how public consultation is important for the betterment of different levels of communities, reality sets in. In general, it can change lives by improving efficiency, transparency, and public involvement in mass-scale. This deep-seated process is called by several names across the world. For example: In the United States, it is famous as “public notice and comment “In Canada, the word “consultation” own a unique reputation among some First Nations Groups: “It is the duty of the Crown and third parties to consult with First Nations who have asserted, but not proved, aboriginal rights or title.”

Overall there is a great variation of public consultations, but depending on the specific country, there can be one of the two straits: National or regional public consultations.

Public Consultation Have the Power To Draw In Pleasant Alterations For Citizenry

We started off by explaining the term through its literal meaning and the way it is presumed by most of us. However, it would create a proper definition when it becomes understandable in easy words. The aspired process of public consultation involves notification (to publicise the concern to be consulted on), consultation (a two-way flow of information and opinion exchange) as well as participation (considering interest groups in the drafting of policy or legislation).

Public consultations are usually conducted with representative samples of the citizenry. By implementing scientific methods of random sampling, a sample is selected and consequently weighted to dwell on the population census, consisting of all imperative demographic variables, hence yielding an accurate microcosm of the citizenry.

In contrast, ineffective consultations are believed to be cosmetic consultations that were previously done due to obligation and not right participatory decision making. Whereas standard public opinion polls using representative samples can be a significant means of consulting citizens on a variety of issues for which they have already been brought into focus.

Another crucial feature of the public consultation process is that it has been designed in conjunction with policymakers for targeting those who are brave enough to represent a number of views on the issue at hand. Here policymakers and advocates guarding diverse nature of issues are called to propose and approve the information and arguments that are allotted to respondents.

So yes, the public consultation process has an innate ability to dig beyond the limitations of standard public opinion polls and to amplify the scope of possible areas on which the public is answerable. This also requires bestowing respondent’s key information and pointing them the expansive list of arguments on the issue. But the ultimate intent for respondents is to have a planned experience that feigns that of a policymaker.

If we analyze the most common form of the public consultation process, it is done through a through survey in which respondents are presented vital information and the life-changing opportunity to reflect after evaluating the full range of arguments on an issue. Keeping up with the gist, they are finally asked to release their super-human views in response to a complex menu of policy options. This specialized type of process is embarked on-line so that the respondent can have plenty of time which they direly need to study and revise the three technical things:

  • Presentation of information
  • Arguments and
  • Policy options

The Incredibly Effective Role Public Consultation Can Play

“Put more in-depth; public consolation is continuously needed to evolve the democratic responsiveness, which, as a result, can help restore Americans’ confidence in the government.”

In the new era, one thing is mostly pushing the citizenry around, the unresponsive attitude of the government towards the common people amenities. Thereby, polls show large public majorities are demanding that the government should be a bit more responsive to the will of the people instead of sleeping all the time in their nest box. This is prompted by their commitment to democratic principles. This is also incited by the increasing perception that the majority of government leaders pay little heed to the problems of the residents and prioritize serving special interests over the general ones. This deliberate act has drastically led to low levels of trust in government and hurt the public’s readiness to make short term compromises for lasting satisfaction.

Plus#1: It educates policymakers’ for a better understanding of their constituent’s views

As stated, government officials have a limited treasure for assessing the information on the attitudes of their constituents. According to the research, government officials are expected to calculate the response of the constituents to a particular question; they are often misguided. Public consultation aims to improve policymakers’ understanding of the public and free policymakers to make them diligent in addressing numerous challenges on-hand.

Plus#2: Public consultation opens up ways for policymakers to experiment with new ideas.

The process through which new ideas are brought to life is dead slow: they must initially obtain attention from the media and secondly gain adequate currency to be adapted into proposals for public policy and then finally to be considered by the citizenry.

Public consultation is meant to enhance the policymaker’s capability to test new ideas for addressing prevalent challenges quickly.

Plus#3: Public consultation is an entire system to drive collective intelligence and wisdom 

Based on our exclusive research, the finest approach to solving problems is to consider the views of groups of those people who have the potential to bring unique perspectives. The integration of these perspectives immensely pools visions and next off produce conclusions that reflect a superior intelligence. On the other hand, research displays when policymaking communities that consisting of highly intelligent and informed individuals become unresponsive to individual perspectives they can transform into a subject to ‘groupthink’ which can lead them to have major loopholes and to make decisions that are seen as very catastrophic.

Public consultation is religiously practiced to enliven the policy discourse with the expression to the whole spectrum of views in the population and noticing the intelligence of the society as a whole.

Are you one of the citizens who’s ready to take a hollow dive in the process but is unsure about the skills required for a successful ending? If so, Middle Ground has got you covered.

We help you with our expert training sessions where you master the art of designing and implementing public engagement and public deliberation processes to confidently put your views in front of the government officials.

Get enrolled in our services at


Post a comment

Working with the Province of Ontario – Open Government

The Province of Ontario joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2016 as part of the first cohort of subnational governments. Don was closely involved in Ontario’s program from the start:

Engagement and deliberation can transform how decision-makers carry out critical tasks, shedding new light on issues and leading to new solutions. Middle Ground uses Informed Participation to transform:

Much of this work focuses on stakeholders and/or citizens outside an organization. However, the concerns of staff members within a government department or hospital often resemble those of citizens and stakeholders. For example, they may feel they have no voice in organizational changes that affect them; or in defining a vision for the future. Informed Participation can be an effective tool for solving issuesinsidethe walls of an organization, as well as outside of them, from policy making to culture change.

Hands-on learning is the best way to build skills and capacity in public deliberation. Middle Ground often uses actual engagement projects as a tool for knowledge-transfer to the client’s organization. Typically, Don will serve as the principal advisor, working closely with a team from the client’s firm, and advising them on how to design and implement the process. In addition, he may act as a facilitator and/or writer and analyst. These roles can be specially designed to create mentorship opportunities for the team and to build capacity within the client’s organization.

Middle Ground offers workshops and training courses on Informed Participation. These can extend from a half- to two days and will equip participants with the concepts, skills, and tools they need to design and implement deliberative processes. As an accomplished trainer, Don’s sessions are highly interactive and use lots of practical examples to illustrate the approach, along with group exercises to deepen the grasp of key concepts. Workshops can be custom designed to meet the specific needs of the client.


Every situation is different, and every engagement process should be designed to match the task at hand. This is about more than choosing between big and small processes, or online vs. face-to-face meetings. Informed Participation distinguishes between three differentstylesof public deliberation, each of which engages the participants in a different way:

These deliberative “styles” are natural patterns that discussion follows in daily life. For example, sometimes people use lots of narrative or storytelling, while at others they are far more focused on facts and analysis. If the goal is to solve a difficult technical problem, facts and analysis will matter. If the goal is to solve a deep values conflict, narrative may be the better option. We build features like these into a process to shape it in ways that ensure the process always matches the task.


Public deliberation should be led by an experienced, impartial facilitator. Informed Participation relies on approach that combines three different roles:



Over the years, Don has developed a distinctive style of report-writing that is widely recognized for clarity, accessibility, and its simple narrative style, especially when dealing with complex and often technical issues. Middle Ground uses a variety of document types to support our processes. These include short discussion papers, analyses of issues, comprehensive syntheses of ideas and options, summary reports, and case studies.

Don also regularly takes on writing and analysis tasks independently of his work on engagement processes

Middle Ground is more than a consulting firm. We provide thought leadership in public engagement. Our practice over the years has been to build learning opportunities into our consulting projects. These often include the production of “ideas” papers based on the learning from challenging projects that raise difficult issues and require innovative solutions. Some of these papers can be found on the Ideas page of our Access Publications page.