17 September 2008

LAC Consultation

A panel on the LAC homepage, a consultation on services, just disappeared. No problem over that. It had been showing for some while and was getting stale; but was the consultation effective in soliciting the desired feedback?

Michael Geist has an insightful posting Public Policy Consultations No Field of Dreams stimulated by the release last week of the results of a CRTC public online consultation on new media. He comments that "by Internet standards the consultation failed to attract a large audience" Geist points to the following aspects of consultation 2.0:

- government consultations should resist the temptation to centralize the discussion within a single online forum;
- online public consultation needs more than a briefing document and a place to discuss;
- officials should engage in the consultation by participating in the resulting discussion;
- government must improve its response to public feedback.

If you only use the web as an alternate means of transmitting a consultation document, and receiving written comment, you're missing out on much of the potential. But that extra potential moves public servants, especially senior ones, from a familiar situation in which they feel comfortable, and exert considerable control, into something much less predictable.

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