Community Consultation Solutions
Community consultations that connect people and clarify issues and a way forward
 
We have taken on some particularly challenging community consultations at different times. In the most confronting one, the police maintained a presence outside the hall in which we held the initial public meeting. We had to take an often difficult independent position and helped both sides appreciate the other’s point of view, the values they shared and where perhaps they differed. This was supported by carefully designed surveys and workshops to tease out issues and help people go beyond their initial opinions and fears … to, three months later, a simple solution that over 90% of the community supported.

One of the tricks that we often use is to help people connect at multiple levels. We help explore emotions and values as well as rather more concrete topics. In the case above we gave a voice to people who valued their ability to walk barefoot on their island’s roads. In another we helped a council conduct a consultation in regard to a major sub-division, which had split the community. Some were new arrivals and some had been long term residents who wanted to sub-divide so they could retire in comfort. Over 50% of the community participated in the surveys and focus groups. One of the questions we explored was the different values people placed on certain aspects of the district’s character ... like how two groups approached a rustic scene. One saw rustic beauty and tranquillity and the other saw run-down and rust. In this case as it happens, the council decided not to subdivide and this disappointed some, however there was almost universal endorsement for the way consultation was conducted.

Over the last sixteen years we have conducted consultations across many different areas including
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