This is a single section from Chapter 2. Read the full chapter here.

Has effective consultation with the public occurred?

Public consultation should take place.

Public consultation is key to ensuring that the Government has all the information it requires to make good law. Information should be made available to the public (those outside the government) in a manner that enables people affected by the proposed legislation to make their views known. Public consultation can help to better identify the nature of the policy problem and more effective solutions for that problem. It also contributes to the legitimacy of the legislation in the eyes of the public and those affected. An effective consultation programme can increase public acceptance of the legislation, increase compliance with it, and lower the administration costs of implementing and enforcing it.

Public consultation is not required or possible in all cases. However, a failure to consult may result in valuable perspectives and information being overlooked and also risks unintended consequences. It may also result in a failure to identify alternative means of achieving the policy objective. Public consultation should occur as early as possible in the process of developing the legislation, preferably in the early stages of the policy development. At the least, it should occur at a point when it can still make a difference to the outcome.

Further information on planning and carrying out effective consultation is found in the Treasury’s Guidance Note on Effective Consultation for Impact Analysis.

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