“OK but what’s in it for us?” Making consultations work for data-greedy campaigns teams
Matthew Cunningham (Digital Coordinator, Living Streets)
Public consultations, when run well, are a solid principle of a working democracy. And yet they can pose challenges for campaigning organisations who not only want to affect change but to empower their supporters to be part of that change – and to be able to demonstrate the part they played. Consultations can be technical, making it hard for lay people to engage. And of course, as they are run externally, it is hard to track supporters’ involvement in any meaningful way. In 2019, Living Streets used a nationwide consultation on one of its key campaign issues, pavement parking, as an opportunity to do consultations differently. Rather than just providing tips on how to “have their say”, they wove their supporters’ responses into their organisation’s response – and with powerful results. This presentation will talk about how and why they planned this, and the successes and learning it offered up.