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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Ford

What Are The Common Challenges When Running A Public Consultation In A Local Community?

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Running a public consultation can be a complex and challenging process, particularly when attempting to engage with diverse groups of people with different opinions and perspectives.

A young woman with dark hair and dark rimmed glasses, sat in a bed that has an orange duvet. She is holding a mug close to her chest and is looking at an open Macbook, she is smiling

Some of the common challenges when running a public consultation include:


One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that the consultation reaches a diverse range of participants who represent different backgrounds, viewpoints, and experiences. It's essential to engage with various community groups, including those who are traditionally underrepresented or marginalized. Seek out places on and offline where there is already lively and engaged conversations, build relationships early on in the process to enable those leading on these can be your ambassadors and encourage participation.


Public consultations can often be seen as a tick-box exercise. Participants may feel that their opinions and ideas are not being genuinely considered or valued, leading to a lack of engagement. Ensuring that participants have ample opportunities to provide feedback and input, including through workshops, focus groups, and online platforms, is critical.

The GoCollaborate consultation and engagement platform should be used alongside the traditional engagement methods like paper and e-surveys to ensure that consultation is as accessible and easy to access by every stakeholder.


Public consultations can bring together people with differing opinions, and it's essential to ensure that everyone feels heard and respected. The consultation process must be structured in a way that allows for open and respectful dialogue, and disagreements must be managed constructively.

Whilst this challenge comes when running face to face public engagement, the GoCollaborate platform can be a safe place for the silent ‘’seldom heard’’ groups to have their voices heard.


Participants in public consultations must feel that the process is transparent and that their feedback is being genuinely considered. The consultation process must be clearly communicated, including how feedback will be collected, analyzed, and acted upon.


Public consultations can be resource-intensive, requiring significant time and financial resources to ensure meaningful engagement. It's essential to allocate sufficient resources to the process, including hiring staff with the necessary skills and expertise to manage the consultation.


Public consultations can generate a large amount of data, including qualitative and quantitative data. Managing and analyzing this data to provide useful insights can be challenging, and it's essential to have a clear plan for data collection, analysis, and reporting.

The GoCollaborate customer portal reporting functionality enables users, like Steering Groups Leads and team members, to easily manage the feedback in real-time and to be analyzed and reported back to the community to ensure the transparency of the process and help with the future community engagement.

Overall, managing these challenges requires careful planning, effective communication, and a commitment to transparency and accountability.

By ensuring that the consultation process is inclusive, meaningful, and transparent, it's possible to engage with participants and generate useful insights that can inform decision-making.


GoCollaborate is an affordable online consultation and engagement tool, that helps to create better, more prosperous and more sustainable places to live, work and play.

Book a demo to learn more about how our online consultation platform can support your community now and future generations.


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