Select Committee on Public Administration Sixth Report


    (a)  We recommend that all departments, agencies and public bodies should formally record in their consultation exercises that they have adhered to the Cabinet Office Code of Conduct on written consultation (paragraph 22).

    (b)  We recommend that the Government consider introducing legislation to replace the multiplicity of statutory requirements to consult with an overarching framework (paragraph 37).

    (c)  We recommend that the Cabinet Office produce a list of cases where there is such an obligation to consult (paragraph 37).

    (d)  We support the idea of a competitive fund for sponsoring innovation in consultation at both national and local level (paragraph 43).

    (e)  We believe that any strategy for increasing electoral participation at local level will have to include consideration of the local electoral system (paragraph 44).

    (f)  We recommend that the remit of the Electoral Commission should be extended to allow it to issue a code governing the conduct of local referendums, and their validation. Government should also clarify the powers of local authorities to hold referendums (paragraph 47).

    (g)  We believe that deliberative techniques should be routinely employed to explore the views of citizens on appropriate issues of scientific uncertainty(paragraph 53).

    (h)   We would like the Cabinet Office to consider how the People's Panel could be more innovative and distinctive, as well as to keep its usefulness under continuous review (paragraph 70).

    (i)  We recommend that all public authorities should have access to a code of guidance which expresses the fundamental importance of involving the public in decision-making wherever and however it can be made feasible at reasonable cost and in a timely and responsible manner. The Cabinet Office should take on responsibility for compiling this simpler and more general set of obligations, ideally formulated around a number of basic principles, whose derived implications in particular contexts could be spelt out in more detail either by other central departments giving guidance to local councils or health bodies, or by local bodies themselves (paragraph 76).

    (j)  We believe that it would be helpful if a Public Participation Unit was established in the Cabinet Office as a single clear focus for public participation across government. (Paragraph 76).

    (k)  We recommend that a connected approach designed to acquaint people working at all levels of government with the best current practice can play a useful role. The Office of the e-Envoy within the Cabinet Office is best placed to take on this mission, working in close collaboration with Cabinet Office colleagues promoting public consultation and the positive development of political participation (paragraph 78).

    (l)  We recommend that central government work closely in partnership with other bodies (such as the Local Government Association, IDeA and so on) to disseminate information about good practice, to help authorities avoid 'reinventing the wheel', and to strengthen the training in participation models available for staff - especially knowledge of more deliberative methods (paragraph 79).

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