It is our duty to ensure that decisions are properly informed, and consulting with those that have an interest is necessary to ensure that our decisions take account of relevant opinions and are evidence based.
Who we consult
We aim to reach stakeholders that are directly affected, or have specific expertise in the subject under consideration. We consider whether proposals might impact on specific stakeholder groups, including minority groups or those that might normally be less likely to respond to government consultations, and try to involve them in the consultation process.
How we consult
We will adapt our approach to the issue on which we are consulting and those we are trying to engage. Our aim is to undertake meaningful engagement with our stakeholders throughout the decision making process.
For significant policy and legislative changes we will undertake a formal consultation. We publish all consultations on our website and alert stakeholders to this.
Formal written consultation is not always the most appropriate approach and other engagement methods are better suited to deliver meaningful engagement.
Other engagement methods we use include:
- issuing letters to Interested Parties to obtain their views
- face-to-face meetings with individuals or small groups of stakeholders
- public meetings
- focus groups, professional or social networks
- social media and other on-line communication platforms
We take into account access needs and can provide the consultation documents in alternative formats such as Braille.
In our consultation documents, we aim to:
- use plain English and avoid using jargon, abbreviations and acronyms wherever possible
- be transparent about what decisions stakeholders can influence, by being clear about the scope of our consultations and what we are seeking views on
- provide clear information about how to respond and get involved in any consultation events or activities
- provide an assessment of the impact of any proposals to identify the benefits, costs and risks
We usually provide specific questions to focus attention on key issues and to encourage stakeholders to provide evidence and reasoning to support their views.
Responding to consultations
We seek to be as flexible as possible in how we receive consultation responses, including emails and letters but also by phone, or in person at a meeting.
How responses are handled
We aim to publish summary reports of responses on our website within three months of the closing date of the consultation. Copies of full responses can be also be requested.
Where respondents have sent in a 'Publication of Personal Data' form asking that personal details are not disclosed, we respect this, deleting personal information accordingly before making the response available or publishing summary response reports on our website. When respondents have asked for information to be kept confidential, we ensure we comply with Freedom of Information law, including relevant exemptions.
All other information held by us is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and may be published and/or disclosed in response to a request unless it is exempt under the provisions of the legislation. Information provided in response to a consultation may be withheld from disclosure if relevant exemptions apply.
Welsh Language scheme
Where appropriate we produce consultations in Welsh as well as English, and we do so simultaneously in accordance with our Welsh Language Scheme. The scheme allows exceptions to translation only when the document is of a technical nature or aimed at a specialist or limited audience. Annexes and Summaries of Responses are not translated.
Access our consultations
Our consultation process follows the Cabinet Office Consultation Principles and complies with The Regulators' Code.