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Planning Advisory Service (PAS)
Open group | Started - July 2012 | Last activity - Today

Only accepting online consultation responses

Former Member, modified 8 Years ago.

Only accepting online consultation responses

Hi all,

We will be going out to consultation in November, using some online software called Citizen Space, which is a lot more user-friendy than previous online consultation systems we've used.  However, we recently used it to consult on a draft SPD, and of 14 respondents, only 5 used the system with the other 9 sending us comments by email (all of whom were professional organisations).  This was disappointing, as we had encouraged the use of Citizen Space to make life easier for both respondents and ourselves.  We have been wondering how firm we can be about not accepting comments by other means, and have heard that some other authorities have taken this approach, or only allow emailed/written comments by exception.

Any experiences / views on this would be very helpful.

Many thanks,

Emma

Tim Dawson, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Only accepting online consultation responses

New Member Posts: 15 Join Date: 20/10/11 Recent Posts

I know Doncaster have gone down this route for their new Local Plan consultation and as much as I like the sound of it, I am sceptical. Such an approach really does go against the equality and diversity rhetoric that dominates Local Authority operations. By insisting that people use online responses only is very exclusive as so many people are still not very computer literate, do not have access to a computer and - maybe not so relevant for you - do not have an adequate standard of internet connection to facilitate participating in online consultation.

I envisage that we will heavily promote use of our online resources, but cannot guarantee that they will be used. At the end of the day, the most valuable thing is getting more responses sent in an electronic format (consultation response form/portal or emailed MS Word document etc) in order that we can just copy and paste text for processing and analysing responses. In recent consultation programmes, however, we still receive many hand written responses which require inputting manually.

Former Member, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Only accepting online consultation responses

Thanks Tim, we have some concerns about it too.  I will try and find out how far Doncaster have enforced their approach.
Peter Stockton, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Only accepting online consultation responses

Enthusiast Posts: 34 Join Date: 20/10/11 Recent Posts

Only a fraction of respondents to our Local Plan are using our on line response database. But that is perhaps not surprising since organisations wish to keep records of their submissions and to maje them on their own lettered headed documents.

The annoying thing about receiveing pdfs submissions is having to transfer them as unformatted text into the database.

Former Member, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Only accepting online consultation responses

Thank you Peter, that is a good point.  With Citizen Space, respondents are automatically emailed a pdf of their response when they submit it, although that doesn't get around the letterhead issue.

Yes it is a real headache!