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Rowan Associates - See the wood for the trees

Win Win consultation

With Interest – With Influence

Rowan Associates South West Ltd
Statement of Principles on Consultation

Rowan Associates believes that consultation is effective when it

  • involves stakeholders who have an active interest in the issue


  • asks them about issues over which they can exert some influence.

Win-Win Consultation is a 3 staged process.

Engaging strategic stakeholders to map local needs, identify existing provision or services which meet local need, and understand gaps in services or facilities. From the stakeholder mapping, we work with consultation commissioners, and key stakeholders where appropriate, to clarify the realistic options and choices on which consultation will take place. This approach ensures greater buy-in from strategic agencies and partners.

Consulting as widely as is realistic, using the most appropriate methods. Realism is based on resources, capacity and the interests of wider (e.g. community) stakeholders. Methods are chosen on the basis of resources, time-scales, and the nature of the questions being asked – among other factors. Realism is also, and crucially, based on asking questions over which consultation participants have some influence, and which consultation commissions are willing to respond to or include in further planning. Our experience tells us that communities experience ‘consultation fatigue’ and cynicism when they believe they will not be heard or responded to. Win-Win Consultation aims to overcome this.

Reporting back: Win-Win means being clear about how decisions were made after the consultation process. This involves reporting back about what came out of the consultation, and why. Our experience tells us that people are more willing to accept decisions – even about issues they disagree over – as long as the decision is explained. Consultation commissioners need to plan to report back to both strategic partners and key stakeholders, and to the consultation community.

© Rowan Associates South West, 2006.