What is a consultation? I wonder if those that are responsible for particular departments have any understanding of the concept. I am not just talking about CRT although they are currently in error. All government departments national or local seem to mis-understand the whole idea of the principles involved in consultation.
What is the current practice? A department sees a problem and comes up with a solution. Then they ask everybody what they think of their solution. When the thoughts are in they implement their solution. Despite what seem to be said it is usually a foregone result. This is what we are going to do what do you think? Departments not really wanting your opinion but going through the motions anyway to placate the masses.
What should be the practice? Well, there are lot of ideas on this, but my thoughts are thus, A department sees a problem. To solve the problem they ask everyone how they would solve the problem i.e. gather ideas from as many sources as possible. When everyone has had their say, then and only then, do they look at all the possibilities put forward and discuss the merits of each solution and which of the solutions (or combination of various parts of the solutions) will be the most effective at curing the problem.
Squadron Leader James King, the RAFs answer to Fagash Lil, who I worked with back in the eighties was a master at this. Rather than pontificate about how problems should be solved his mantra was always, “Don't bring me your problems, bring me the solution.” What happened next was those who found the problem would go away and come up with a number of possible solutions then Jim would decide the way forward in consultation with those people, choosing the best solution or combination solutions to cure the problem. This is called leadership. It is not difficult, it’s what he was paid for.
In a consultation you cannot enter the arena knowing what the outcome will be. It is not fair and not in the spirit of the laid down rules which require consultations to take place.