Headlines: November 3rd, 2000

Government has issued guidance to local councils on new ways to engage their local communities. Not the first time local councils have been told in some detail how to communicate with their local communities – this time the purpose is to secure views about future constitutions.The Local Government Act 2000 places a duty on local authorities to consult on the introduction of new political management arrangements which might ultimately lead to an elected mayor in bigger towns and cities. (see Publicnet Briefing, October 30, 2000)

The new guide explores ways to approach, organise and design consultation in line with the requirements of the act. They also assist in terms of engaging the public and other stakeholders in a debate and ensuring consultation is open, transparent and responsive.

Some councillors have shown open hostility to radical change in their ways of decision-making, and have spoken out against the proposals outlined in the act.

New Council Constitutions – Consultation Guidelines for English Local Authorities is available on the DETR website at

It contains best practice from those organisations already practised in consultation exercises, including the use of a consultation checklist featured previously by Publicnet: