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Code of Practice on Consultation published 3 July 2008

A CODE of Practice setting out standard guidelines for Government consultations with the public has now been published.

The Code is designed for use in relation to primary legislation, but the Council of Ministers has agreed that it should be regarded as a best practice template for consultation on major policy decisions.

The Code includes criteria on aspects of consultation including duration, scope, clarity, accessibility and feedback. It applies to all Government Departments, Statutory Boards and Offices, and has itself been the subject of public consultation in November and December last year.

The introduction to the Code explains: ‘The purpose of consultation is not to be a referendum but an information, views and evidence gathering exercise from which to take an informed decision on the content of proposed legislation or policy.’

Meanwhile it is hoped that a new area of the Government website, due to be launched this autumn, will improve awareness of and participation in consultations by listing them all in one place, with links to each.

Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK commented:

‘Consultation is an important element of an open, democratic society and a basic principle of good corporate governance. Adopting a standard approach to consultation practice across Government should give the public a clearer idea of what to expect from these exercises.’

The Code of Practice on Consultation, effective from July 1, 2008, is available from the Tynwald Library or can be downloaded from the Chief Secretary’s Office website at www.gov.im/cso

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