The pressure is on. An urgent decision is needed to prevent foreseen losses. This is a common scenario for which many Consultors can relate. Yet it is traditional to ensure that Consultees are given lots of time to consider new proposals so that they have a reasonable opportunity to express their views.
While rushing consultation is not the answer, the reality is that sometimes quicker can be better. For example, a longer consultation is more likely to be influenced by changes to the supporting circumstances – which can impact the original choices on offer.
So how can Consultors maintain a balance of quality and agility?
My view is that the principles of ‘shorter but better’ can be realised with a renewed focus on preparing for consultation and improving back office processes. In other words, under certain circumstances and for certain issues, Consultors can strive to consult more quickly by putting in appropriate quality assurance measures and adopting productivity tools like Darzin.
For example, adequate time must be given to decision makers for their consideration of public views – so a faster consultation might expect that decision makers are more regularly briefed. With Darzin stakeholder relationship management, not only can results be analysed on-the-fly but Consultors will have comfort in knowing that there is a robust process for qualitative data analysis.
One things for sure, it’s time to move away from using spreadsheets to try and understand what people think. The art of creating a comprehensive and accurate summary of responses is difficult enough at ‘normal’ speed.