The Six Consultation Criteria

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Foreword by Tony Blair (2004)

Effective consultation is a key part of the policy-making process. People’s views can help shape policy developments and set the agenda for better public services. But we also need to make the process of consultation less burdensome and easier for people to engage with. We have made progress in recent years. In November 2000, I launched the Code of Practice on Written Consultation, which set out principles for departments to follow. This has been effective in raising both the quality and quantity of consultation carried out by government. We consult more extensively now than ever before. And, in the vast majority of cases, consultation periods are now at least 12 weeks long,enabling more time for responses and more people to be involved. But there is much more we can do to improve the effectiveness of the way we consult with stakeholders. This new, revised code will help focus those efforts. It is shorter and clearer, and strengthens the commitment to providing respondents with feedback and to following better regulation best practice in developing policy options. I encourage all departments and relevant public bodies to use it effectively.

The Six Consultation Criteria[1]

  1. Consult widely throughout the process, allowing a minimum of 12 weeks for written consultation at least once during the development of the policy.
  2. Be clear about what your proposals are, who may be affected, what questions are being asked and the timescale for responses.
  3. Ensure that your consultation is clear, concise and widely accessible.
  4. Give feedback regarding the responses received and how the consultation process influenced the policy.
  5. Monitor your department’s effectiveness at consultation, including through the use of a designated consultation co-ordinator.
  6. Ensure your consultation follows better regulation best practice, including carrying out a Regulatory Impact Assessment if appropriate.


  1. Better Regulation Executive (2005) Code of Practice on Consultation