We've blogged a lot recently about our review of how we run digital consultations.
When we kicked off the project, we thought feedback would focus on the functionality of the tools we use. What we actually received was lots of feedback about the policy making process itself, and about how we keep those who have contributed to a consultation in the loop with how we are using their contribution and the outcome of the consultation.
We ran an online survey as one of the methods to gather insight for the project. It was completed by people who had declared an interest in previous DH consultations, including a retired nurse, a mum or someone just interested in the policymaking process. Feedback clearly showed what was important to them.
We asked “what would encourage you to respond to a digital consultation?” The top answers were:
- I’m assured that my response ( and expertise) will be valued
- I can see who is running the consultation and wants me to answer the questions
- I am told how long it is likely to take to complete a response eg how many questions.
We asked ”what would put you off responding to a digital consultation?” The top answers were:
- I’m not sure if I will be listened to or make a difference
- I feel I need to read through all the detailed supporting consultation material before responding.
We asked “what would you like to happen after you respond?” The top answers were:
- Get progress updates on the result of the consultation and actions taken as a result
- Get a confirmation message that my response has been submitted.
Responses clearly pointed to how we communicate before, during and after a consultation.
This leaves us with plenty to think about. I’m currently writing a project plan to implement the 10 recommendations that have come out of the review. I’m considering what it might say. Should we ask policy teams to a sign up to a comms and engagement plan before we give them access to digital consultations tools? How can we ensure all consultations are written in clear English, jargon free?
Some of this may just seem like common sense. We’ll be using some of these findings to remind colleagues here to think as much about the before, during and after a consultation as the document itself.