Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by the Department of Trade and Industry


  Thank you for your letter of 16 February seeking information on innovative approaches to public consultation.

  The Department has conducted over 175 consultations since May 1997. Our work is very diverse and these have ranged from extensive consultations on issues of wide public interest to small consultations on technical issues. Approaches are varied, therefore, according to the differing circumstances of each, but the Cabinet Office guidance on conducting written consultation exercises is readily available to staff on the Department's intranet system. We are now looking at using the intranet to help staff involved in consultations to network and spread best practice more easily.

  I attach a paper giving details of a sample of consultations conducted by the Department in recent years which I think brings out this diversity and illustrates our firm commitment to involving outside interests in the decision making process. The extensive use of the Internet and electronic mail to improve accessibility and speed is particularly noteworthy. This can be vital, especially when there are unavoidable time pressures on the process. The Department has recently created an index of current (and some completed) consultations on its web-site with direct links to the consultation documents (

Rt Hon Stephen Byers MP

Secretary of State

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