Managing the consultation process

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This is not a communication activity, but every consultation has to be managed, and some IT can help.

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Managing contacts

Any consultation involving a large number of participants needs some way of managing all the contacts with them. First they need to know about the consultation, then brought in, kept informed and engaged during the process, and given feedback at the end. There is software for Customer Relationship Management, but most of it is designed for sales, not for the relationships in public consultation. There are also tools for keeping in touch with groups of people (by e-mail lists, text messages, ...).

Analysing responses

Policy makers will not read everything produced in a consultation. They needs summaries and analses of responses. Tools for analysing quantitative data (e.g. from surveys) are well-known. But there is also software that can be used to analyse qualitative data (e.g. from focus groups and discussion forums). CAQDAS is well-known to academic researchers, but less so among consultation practitioners.

Writing documents

The same software that helps groups of consultees put together submissions can be used by a group of consultation analysts when preparing their reports.