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Consultation - why we do it and how we use it

Updated: 04 Aug 2015
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A consultation is a procedure which enables the public and relevant organisations to help to develop housing strategies and solve problems. The idea is to involve everyone who is affected by the issue and who wants to help find the best solution. Sometimes a consultation will not address a specific problem, but will simply want feedback and opinions on a topic.

Current consultations

Consultation Closing date Documents
Community Cohesion Strategy 2015-2020
Consultation on our Community Cohesion Strategy is open until Friday 4th September 2015. Our normal policy is to consult for 12 weeks however, we have had to slightly reduce the consultation period but are happy to put in place additional measures to facilitate consultees in responding to us within this time period, for example face to face interviews can be arranged or telephone based interviews to allow your responses to be noted.
4th September 2015 View the Community Cohesion Strategy 2015-2020 (Adobe PDF 1668 KB)
Draft Corporate and Business Plans 2015/16 – 2017/18
Consultation on our Corporate and Business Plans is open until Friday the 28th of August. Our normal policy is to consult for 12 weeks however, we have had to slightly reduce the consultation period but are happy to put in place additional measures to facilitate consultees in responding to us within this time period, for example face to face interviews can be arranged or telephone based interviews to allow your responses to be noted.
If you would like more information please contact Janet Thomas.
28th of August 2015
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We advise of any new consultations through our Twitter account or Facebook page so you may want to follow them.

Codes of practice on government consultation

The code of practice applies to all UK public consultations by government departments and agencies, including consultations on EU directives.
Though the code does not have legal force, and cannot prevail over statutory or other mandatory external requirements (e.g. under European Community Law), it should otherwise generally be regarded as binding unless Ministers conclude that exceptional circumstances require a departure.
The code contains six criteria. They should be reproduced in all consultation documents. There should be an explanation of any departure from the criteria and confirmation that they have otherwise been followed.
We adhere to the Code of Practice in all our consultations.

The procedure

When consultation is needed a consultation document is created by the appropriate department. This outlines the topics for discussion and invites views from individuals and groups. Some consultations are aimed at councils or other government bodies. Non-governmental organisations such as charities or community groups may also be asked to take part. The public are always free to contribute to consultations.
Consultations usually last around 3 months, though in some cases they can be open for as little as 6-8 weeks. Consultation periods are generally longer where councils are involved, in order to allow time for the consultation to be added to the relevant agenda.
Once the consultation has been completed, the information is used to create a policy document.
If we feel that a consultation is particularly important to householders we will write to you about it, for example if it deals with your neighbourhood. Some consultations are aimed more at organisations, dealing with topics like homelessness or rural housing. However, we welcome all input.