Consultation is the process through which the council seeks information or advice from individuals or groups of people, usually as part of the process of developing our services or making decisions.

Information can be sought in a wide variety of ways, including surveys and focus groups, and the method used should be tailored to meet the needs of the group of people we are consulting.

To be carried out properly, consultation must:

  • be undertaken when plans are being made
  • include enough information to allow those being consulted to properly consider and present that information in a way that can be easily understood
  • allow enough time for those being consulted to make a considered response
  • conscientiously take responses into account when making a final decision 

We have a very clear process for developing and agreeing consultations, which includes working with the council's professional market research officer and securing formal sign-off from your Cabinet member. No consultation should go ahead without following this process, which is overseen by the Leader of the Council.

This approach is taken to make sure the council only carries out high quality consultation that is designed to achieve results, is targeted so it is right for the audience we are consulting, can be relied upon, is used to shape our services, and is as cost-effective as possible. 

The Consultation Approval Process 2013 explains the process and includes a flow diagram and the consultation approval form, which must be completed for ALL consultations. Please download below.  

The market research officer works with consultation leads from across all services to share consultation plans and experiences, and to develop consultation skills. 

If you have any questions or need help with research or consultation, please contact the market research officer, via marketresearch@portsmouthcc.gov.uk, call 023 9243 7996.  

The market research officer can advise on an appropriate way to consult with your audience, including putting surveys together and using SurveyMonkey, preparing and facilitating focus groups, and engaging with our new Citizen's Panel.  

The council regularly consults with staff, using whole council surveys to understand how you feel about working here. The results of these surveys can be found on our staff survey archive results page and are used by the council and individual services to identify areas where improvements are needed.

If you are considering consulting or undertaking market research, you should contact the market research officer as early as possible in the process. A forward plan of research and consultation activity is developed in February and March for the coming year, and all services are asked to contribute via their communications account managers. If you are planning consultation, ideally it should be included as part of the consultation forward plan so sufficient time and resources can be allocated to support you.  

Consultation is only one of the ways we engage with Portsmouth's residents. A range of engagement work is also carried out with communities on our community engagement page.