That this award only had one nomination last year tells its own story about public participation in Northern Ireland. And yet, as more and more citizens find their voices online, it is crucial that public institutions turn and face the concerns of the public they seek to serve, before rather than after their plans take effect. All too often public bodies undertake consultation exercises simply because theyre demanded by law rather than because of the value it may bring those institutions or the communities they seek to serve.
As a result such public dialogue as there is are often conducted in an atmosphere of cynical tokenism or are seen from the outside as bland exercises in public relations. And yet we persist, because we believe more and more it is critical that politicians and others find meaningful ways to connect with the people whose interests they seek to represent.
So what forms of public consultation do you know that worked, however modestly? It might have been cheap and cheerful, or complex and expensive. So long as it was effective and a real example of democratic or other public institutions reaching out to the community
With your nominations, please try to include:
1. What was the subject of the consultation?
2. What format/structure did they use?
3. Why would you say it worked?
You can make your nominations below. Be as expansive as you wish, so we can make the best pitch possible to both the reader and judges panels who may not be as familiar as you with your favoured candidate. Remember we are looking for best practice here in order to encourage others to take the process more seriously and treat it as a crucial part of their management cycle…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty