Listening and responding to the people and communities of Walsall (and where appropriate outside of the borough) is fundamental to the decision-making process, providing vital information and feedback about the diverse needs of people who live, work, study, visit or do business in the borough.
“Consultation is the dynamic process of dialogue between individuals or groups based on a genuine exchange of views, with the objective of influencing decisions, policies or programmes of action.” (The Consultation Institute)
Consultation is a key element of how we will deliver the council’s purpose and corporate priorities. View the council’s Corporate Plan here: www.walsall.gov.uk/corporate-plan
Consultation Protocol and Best Practice Principles
Central to the council’s approach to consultation is our consultation protocol (.PDF 305KB), quality assured by The Consultation Institute it provides council officers a consistent, best practice approach for how we will prepare, conduct and evaluate public consultations.
The protocol includes the following best practice principles:
- Consultation will be genuine, conducted when proposals are at a formative stage and when there are still many possible outcomes.
- The purpose of the consultation will be made clear and we will detail what can and cannot be influenced, who is eligible to take part, who is taking the decision and when the decision will be taken.
- Consultation will be conducted to a high standard, be well planned, co-ordinated and, where appropriate, joined up.
- We will communicate clearly and in a range of formats, providing sufficient, balanced information to allow for intelligent consideration and without knowingly omitting or distorting any key facts.
- Wherever possible we will consult on a range of options and always declare our preferred option. The process of appraising options and alternatives will be transparent and robust.
- Consultation will be inclusive, ensuring that all those who wish to have their say are enabled to do so and are aware of the ways they can respond. Engagement methods will be designed to suit the needs of key stakeholders, utilise multiple channels and having regard for accessibility and those with protected characteristics.
- We will give people a reasonable amount of time to respond to the consultation across a number of channels. The duration of a consultation will take into account the urgency of the decision, time of year and impact of any proposals.
- Data will be processed in accordance with all appropriate legislation including the Data Protection Act 1998. Results will be carefully analysed and reported accurately without bias.
- Findings from consultation will be carefully and conscientiously taken into account before any decision(s) are made.
- Results, outcomes and learning will be transparently fed back as appropriate to those involved in the consultation and the wider population. We will publish findings within 12 weeks of the closing date or explain why this has not been possible.
Walsall Council sets a budget each year and has to decide how to allocate available money to the wide range of vital services it provides to the community. The budget setting process involves some difficult decisions, which reflect national and local priorities, as well as the needs, wants and aspirations of 270,000 residents. The council publishes its draft budget for consultation in the Autumn.