Citizen Space as public consultation software

Designed for public consultation

When choosing public consultation software, it’s important that it will meet common needs for public consultation.

As consultation software, Citizen Space is used for a wide range of public consultation types, including statutory consultations, planning consultations, consultations on permits and regulatory processes.

Citizen Space is also used as consultation software for non-statutory stakeholder engagement and public involvement activities.

What is public consultation?

Public consultation is the process of asking for the public’s input on a policy or decision that affects them.

It’s the law to consult the public in many cases and is essential to the function of a healthy democracy.

That’s why good online consultation software is so important - it makes the process easy to access for citizens.

How government consults the public

The Government of Northern Ireland uses Citizen Space to run and manage online consultation across its departments.

Citizen Space online consultation software provides a single, simple place for Gov NI to run consultations, and feedback to participants about the consultation process and the Department's responses.

Citizens can easily find the outcome of a decision from a public consultation process, and Gov NI are confident that they’re closing the loop effectively.

Consultations give people in all walks of life a chance to get involved in the work of government. Consultation is an important part of the policy-making process. Citizen Space is the Northern Ireland Civil Service preferred tool for online public consultation.

Government of Northern Ireland

Public consultation best practice

Online consultation software needs to embody and support consultation best practice.

As consultation software Citizen Space is built around best practice public consultation techniques.

By providing a single place to find all consultation activity, Citizen Space improves the quality of public consultation activity across the organisation.

As well as publishing consultations, Citizen Space also makes it easy to close the loop on public consultation by publishing outcomes and consultation reports.

Why is it important to close the loop in public consultation?

When people respond to a public consultation they're taking the time to provide their views.

Publishing clear outcomes and reports demonstrates to respondents that their views were considered.

Even where respondents disagree with the final outcome, it's best practice to demonstrate that the process was fair, and compliant with consultation guidelines.

Clackmannanshire Council - best practice in consultation

Clackmannanshire Council recognised that they could do much better when it came to public engagement. Coordinating all their activity had proved to be a frustrating, time-consuming task. They wanted to adopt a best-practice approach to consultation.

Like many other local authorities in Scotland using Citizen Space, Clackmannanshire switched to Citizen Space for online public consultation, which provided the council with one place to manage all their consultation activity online.

In their own words, adopting Citizen Space "has made us think differently about the way we engage with our stakeholders and residents." Clackmannanshire reported a positive effect on the council’s culture, expectations and proficiency when engaging with residents.

Citizen Space has been a breath of fresh air and nudged us to re-think the way we engage…I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to organisations wanting to improve the way they consult.

Performance & Information Officer, Clackmannanshire Council

Public consultation guidelines

It’s important for statutory and planning consultations to conform to guidelines.

As online consultation software, Citizen Space helps you meet public consultation guidelines.

  • workflow to meet statutory consultation periods
  • transparency to the public and respondents
  • privacy compliance including GDPR, Australian Privacy Act, New Zealand Privacy Act, UK Data Protection Act
  • clear audit trail and data integrity that stands up to scrutiny
  • supports Commonwealth and EU consultation standards, including Gunning Principles
  • accessible public consultation platform, meeting accessibility requirements

Meeting worldwide guidelines for public consultation

Citizen Space is used for public consultation by more than 300 organisations around the world.

Federal Government in Australia uses Citizen Space because it meets Australian guidelines for public consultation.

Citizen Space is used by New Zealand central government because it's well suited to public consultation requirements in New Zealand.

In the UK, Citizen Space is widely used for consultations by UK central government as well as by devolved and local government:

Citizen Space also meets the needs for statutory planning consultation in Ireland and for bodies across the EU.

Meeting standards for public consultation

The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) proposed 'a total ban on UK sales of ivory that could contribute either directly or indirectly to the continued poaching of elephants'.

Defra used Citizen Space to open up an online public consultation on this high-profile issue. There were more than 70,000 responses to the consultation, generating valuable evidence for the policy decision.

Citizen Space is a versatile digital tool which is easy to use for both consulter and consultee. The system is already achieving high and sustained standards.

Consultation Manager, Defra

How to run a public consultation

Running a public consultation can seem complicated initially. But fundamentally public consultation is a straightforward process.

  1. Plan: be clear what information you need from the consultation, when you need it by, and what you’re going to do with it afterwards.
  2. Design: design your consultation, paying particular attention to subject matter, and your question design as this can have a big impact on the quality of data you receive back.
  3. Publish: when you publish a public consultation, make sure that things like contact details and close dates are clearly visible.
  4. Promote: for a public consultation to be successful, the consultation needs be promoted online, in news media and via community networks.
  5. Analyse: now that your results are in, it’s time to analyse the data you’ve received; good consultation tools help with this.
  6. Report: you will need to report your findings internally to decision-makers as well as externally to respondents.

Citizen Space helps run public consultations

Because it's designed for running online public consultations, Citizen Space simplifies the process.

Built-in publishing tools support planning and designing consultations. Consultations can be reviewed for quality before publishing. Consultations published using Citizen Space are easy to find and promote, and achieve good responses.

Citizen Space also includes tools for analysis and reporting on public consultations.

Finally, Citizen Space is easy to use, and allows organisations to meet high quality standards for public consultation.

Reading Borough Council

Reading Borough Council wanted to modernise their digital communications – including their public consultation activity.

As part of a shift towards a more integrated approach, Reading adopted Citizen Space, joining many other government organisations using Citizen Space for public consultation.

This was partly because it's easy for anyone to use, with no specialist technical expertise required. This helps staff from across the council treat online consultation as an activity they can initiate themselves.

Citizen Space helps us strip away the unnecessary complicatedness. It’s approachable – so people are more likely to actually consult.

Digital and Website Manager, Reading Borough Council

How to buy public consultation software

Buying public consultation software can be confusing. Here are nine tips on what to look for when buying public consultation software.

  1. Cloud-based: cut out IT hassles by using cloud software with no installations needed
  2. Simple licensing: transparent pricing with no hidden extras
  3. Security updates included: security updates are essential and need to be included at no extra cost
  4. Improvements included: the best consultation software provides regular improvements at no extra cost
  5. Reliability: look for a guaranteed high level of availability
  6. Accessibility: consultation software needs to be accessible to a wide range of users, using recognised standards such as WCAG 2.1
  7. Privacy: compliant with the data regime in your territory, for example GDPR, DPA, or the Privacy Act
  8. Integrity: buy only from suppliers meeting standards such as ISO 27001, the international standard for information security
  9. Service: look for both self-serve support via a knowledgebase, and account managed support via phone and email at no extra cost

Citizen Space removes the confusion when buying public consultation software. It’s easy to buy and recommended by government customers around the world.

As well as reducing confusion and meeting public consultation guidelines, Citizen Space is continually improved, making the job of running public consultations easier and less time-consuming.

Citizen Space is cloud-based, has a simple licensing model including all security updates and an impressive 99.95% Service Level Agreement (SLA). Delib is ISO 27001 certified, compliant with privacy legislation, and offers a personal account management service as well a comprehensive self-serve knowledge base.

Buying public consultation software produces benefits

East Sussex County Council had a well-established internal process for consultation – but the team were frustrated with their unwieldy tools required to take their activity online.

East Sussex switched to Citizen Space public consultation sofware, citing its ease of use and flexibility as key reasons behind the decision.

After making the switch, East Sussex noted a marked decrease in the number of help requests from colleagues setting up consultations.

Citizen Space has complemented and worked seamlessly within existing processes and helps ensure a seamless publishing process between colleagues.

Sue Buxton, Consultation and Engagement Manager, East Sussex County Council

Public consultation training courses

Not sure how to get the most out of your public consultation?

Training days can help with public consultation training topics like these (and many more).

  • Consultation best practice tips and tricks
  • How to set up different types of public consultation in Citizen Space
  • Citizen Space analysis functionality - an overview and best use
  • Discussion of analysis process and review of other consultation outcome reports

Consultation training from Delib

Delib consultation training sessions show how to get maximum value from Delib tools, rapidly increasing your organisation's capacity for effective online involvement.

The sessions are designed to be as convenient as possible for you – with a range of timings and locations available.

Delib provides public consultation training in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and European Countries.

Successful public consultation online

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council wanted to improve their consultation activity, especially with a stronger online offering.

They chose to adopt Citizen Space and the impact was immediate, because it’s designed specifically to support public consultation.

The public consultation training provided with Citizen Space has expanded the staff's skill set and marked a shift to a more digitally-aware way of working whilst also improving quality and reducing risk.

I would like to thank Delib for their professionalism and the level of service they have provided. It is always daunting when trying to change one's work practices and they have assisted and guided us with great patience during this time. They are a pleasure to work with.

Press Officer, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

How can public consultation be easier?

Public consultation is best practice, and often a legal requirement.

Whilst fundamentally the public consultation process is straightforward, it can be made easier and more productive with good public consultation software.

Good online consultation software is affordable, easy for staff to use, and meets standards around the world.

Citizen Space - recommended software for running public consultations

Designed to be effective public consultation software, Citizen Space is used by more than 300 organisations around the world.

Citizen Space is recommended by government for public consultation, statutory consultation, planning consultation, and stakeholder consultation, as well as running many other democratic processes.

Easier public consultation at Europe's largest Council

Birmingham City Council wanted to implement one consistent public consultation process across the organisation.

Birmingham chose to use Citizen Space as online consultation software to serve as the backbone for this new, standardised approach.

Because Citizen Space is easy to use, Birmingham now run hundreds of consultations on the cloud-based public consultation tool – on everything from ‘20mph is plenty’ to a Public Art Strategy.

Citizen Space meets perfectly the part of our Consultation and Engagement Strategy requiring digital formal consultation. Our staff have taken to it easily and we have had overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Kaja Carson, Policy Manager, Birmingham City Council

Public consultation stories

Learn how others use Citizen Space as public consultation software.

Explore public consultations

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