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I've long had a bee in my bonnet about Haringey's approach to consultation. LBH has published a consultation charter which is honoured  a lot more in the breach than in the observance. For instance the paragraph

"We will provide enough information about consultation to help people make an informed contribution. We will include information about other issues and facts being considered by decision-makers alongside the consultation results."

                            is rarely true. Generally, in the actual consultation,  they say something along the lines of 

"we'll collect your responses and then the decision maker will take them into account along with a whole lot of other unspecified factors which we're actually not telling you about right now".

No hint of what might constitute a quorum as far as the number of responses goes, nor what percentage of these saying 'yea' or 'nay' or whatever, constitutes a tipping point which might actually force the decision maker to pay attention. 

When the consultation charter was up for consultation, for instance, it went from draft to final with not one word being changed. Simply not possible in the real world. I know for a fact that my response alone merited an almost complete rewrite. Perhaps I was the only respondent and 1 was beneath the non-existent trigger levels for paying attention?

However, and thanks to Clive Carter for pointing this out, the Supreme Court has held Haringey's Consultation on a Council Tax Relief Scheme to have been unlawful and overturns an earlier Court of Appeal decision. Full details of the Judgement (UK Supreme Court).

Paragraph 42 contains the sentences "The consultation document presented the proposed reduction in council tax support as if it were the inevitable consequence of the Government's funding cuts, and thereby disguised the choice made by Haringey itself. It misleadingly implied that there were no possible alternatives to that choice. In reality, therefore, there was no consultation on the fundamental basis of the scheme."

It's my view that this judgment can easily be generalised to all Haringey Consultations. However, as you'll see by the underwhelming amount of attention the category attracts, I may be the only person in N8 who cares.

Tags: court, supreme

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