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Benefits of Public Consultation:

Bullet pointthe public can be a source of information and knowledge
Bullet pointit promotes active democracy, avoids alienation and hostility
Bullet pointit aids dissemination of information
Bullet pointit helps identify issues, problems and values
Bullet pointit helps identify concerns from a range of people affected
Bullet pointit helps identify alternatives
Bullet pointit identifies objections early in the process, prevents delays
Bullet pointensures decision makers are more accountable
Bullet pointit may lead to a decision that is more widely accepted



Ann Richardson in her book on Participation gives three main arguments for advocating genuine participation in government decision: firstly that it is the fairest system of government, secondly that it is important to the well-being of participants and thirdly that it leads to better decisions. The first argument rests on the idea that those who will be affected by decisions should have a right to influence those decisions. She points out that it can also be argued that those who bear the costs of these decisions should have the sole right to determine them. In the case of public sector technology, the two arguments are not necessarily contradictory because there is considerable overlay between the people who pay for the technology through rates and taxes and the people who are affected by it.

Another reason to improve participatory processes, as outlined by Richardson, is that they give dignity to those involved and affected, they help in the development of individual capability and awareness and help to create a well informed, responsive, involved citizenry. Finally one could see increased participation as an aid to policy makers who would have more information about what services were required, the limits of public tolerance, and various other forms of feedback.