New Strategic Direction – initial results of Suffolk County Council’s public ‘engagement’

Here is the latest version of the report on the implementation of the New Strategic Direction.   committee_xml This is the document which will be presented to the Council on 2 December.  I haven’t read it in detail – but the major change from the the previous version appears to be inclusion of the results from the engagement (not consultation) process the Council has been rather hurriedly engaged upon (page 51).

It is interesting to note that the Council is now calling this process a consultation, despite the fact, as I understand it, that it was initially adamant to ensure that the amendment introduced at the previous Council meeting that prompted this process did not refer to consultation, only engagement.  This being because consultation implies to ability to change an outcome, whereas engagement implies only providing information on an outcome that has been already determined.

The results of the ‘not-consultation’ as they have been presented in the report identify the extent to which people understand the NSD and also their concerns.  Crucially, it doesn’t present any evidence of the extent to which people support the idea, despite the fact that this could be easily derived from the information the Council has been collecting.

I think it is the democratic responsibility of the Council to reveal  information on the level of support for the NSD – in fact I would urge the Council to make available all of the information they have gathered, so that everyone can see what people think, rather than having to rely on the Council’s interpretation of what they have found.  It will thus become clear the extent to which the Council is pursuing this idea without the support of the people who elected them.

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