“In public consultation, as in any personal relationship, continuity and familiarity build trust and understanding.”
International Finance Corporation, 1998
Closing the loop is a critical part of good public consultation
The process of reporting back in community engagement is vital in building trust and respect with stakeholders. Letting interested parties know what has happened with the feedback provided during consultation, the importance of their contribution to the project, and what the next step will be is a basic principle of good practice, and a common courtesy.
There are also benefits to closing the consultation loop:
- double checking information
- testing the stakeholder’s reaction to the proposed management plans or mitigation measures
- obtaining further feedback to refine the plans before implementation
- getting buy-in from key stakeholders for such plans.
This practical approach helps increase the success rate for the next phase of the project.
The process of reporting back to stakeholders about how their concerns or suggestions have influenced the project decisions can help establish credibility, manage expectations and reduce consultation fatigue or cynicism. A company can experience a significant drop in participation rate and an increase in scepticism among the stakeholders if using the “parachute consultation” style, where consultation occurs periodically but the outcomes are not communicated to those who participated.
To learn more about how to plan and implement a successful community consultation process, check out our free ebook using the link below. In this e-book you will find:
- A step-by-step guide through all the stages of planning, delivering and reporting on a successful consultation program
- A framework for a Stakeholder Engagement Plan
- Links to additional resources