Previous items from the Running Commentary




27th November.

An interesting consultation launched in Wales;   I'm very tempted to have another look!


23rd November

I've posted my 50th Consultation GuRU blog. Almost exactly 12 months since I launched the Site. Thanks to so many who have provided me with encouragement and support.


20 November

The Environment Agency may shortly need to mount much better and more meaningful consultations on river basin management as a result of a successful judicial review, summarised . Expect a commentary from Consultation GuRU shortly.


15 November

I have published an interesrting conversation with active travel specialist, Paul Murray of Ridge & Partners. Click to hear his views on the eyebrow-raising Plan for Drivers.


13 November

A recent judgment of the Scottish Court of Session has considered another challenge against a Low-Emission-Zone (LEZ) - this time in Glasgow. Mr Parton claimed, inter alia trhat the consultation qwas unlwful. Lzady Poole declared that it was!


6 November

The environmental capaigner, Chris Packham has announced that against the Government's 'U-turn' on the cut-off date for buying diesel/petrol cars. He will argue, inter alia that there should have been a consultation!


31 October

Transport MInisters have told Train Operating Companies to abandon plans to close station ticket offices following an almost record 700,000+ response to Transport Focus' public consultation over the Summer. 


17 October

Consultation featured in this morning's TODAY programme. Justin Webb interviewed Cllr Tudor Evans of Plymouth on their proposals for repolacing the improperly-felled trees of Armada Way. Interesting debate as Webb complained of 'endless consultation' So do we all!


10 October

Today I spoke at Tractivity's Stakeholder Engagement Summit at Birmingham. An impressive attendance list of people/ organisations taking these matters seriously. Fantastic event; proud to have contributed to it.


7 October

Transport ... again. The quick unravelling of Sunak's 'alternative' projects after the HS2 cancellation exposes the lamentable lack of consultation on strategic transport policy. Until he finally bans them, its 'back of fag packet' policy-making


2nd October

Just read the Transport Sec's Party Conference speech. Oh dear, barely anything on railways but huge "Love the motorists" rhetoric. Dishes the '15-min city' deliberately misrepresenting it and suggests 20mph will be subject to public support. Can't wait for the new Guidance. Will they consult?


1st October

Heard Rishi Sunak's interview on BBC1 this morniing re 20 mph zones.Sounds to me as if the 'revised' Guiance for Councils may include a mandatory consultation; maybe a local referendum ...


21st Sept

I sat down to write last night's blog about Rishi Sunak's net zero announcement. Then the lights went out (was this a 'sign'?) for 2 hours. It's the first piece I have written by candlelight. And I wonder whether our PM is also somewhat in the dark.


19th Sept

Today I'm attending an excellent and thought-provoking Conference by . Huge requirement for bottom-up public involvement. Will report back soon.


29th August

Thanks for the many expressions of good wishes following my recent accident. The good news is that it gave me time to read two long books on my reading list and leading to today's !


7 August

Robert Gowling and Alexander Aristides have produced a first-rate analysis of current planning consultations. I strongly recommend. Read here


5 August

ULEZ still much in the news as S Khan seeks to improve his scrappage scheme. Probably not enough to silence his critics. I just wonder - had he not been up against the timetable, should an enhancement of scrappage be consulted upon? How best to use the extra money?


2 August

I've now looked at the major consultation on speeding up the NSIP planning process. Gov't wants an Adequacy of consultation milestone - a term we may need to become familiar with ...! More in the Aug Catch-up


30 July

Just finished preparing my commentary on the ULEZ High Court decision. Long-term impact I guess is political rather than legal


26 July 

The Rail Delivery Group has confirmed that it is extending the consultation until 1st September.

Good news, but it does not address all the issues raised in my blogs.


26 July

BBC News has just reported that there are 'indications' that the Ticket Office closure consultation will be extended. Maybe they've been studying my last two blogs and my Biggleswade padlock video ...!


25 July.

Michael Gove has just outlined his long-awaited plans re housing and planning. Looks like a damp squib, but I will look carefully at what he says about public engagement.


3 Aug update: - Answer - Not a lot!


22nd July.

Astonishing response to my blog on the Rail Ticket office closure consultation. Largest nos. of responses for ages and private correspondence that emboldens me to call for an extension to the 21 day deadline that expires this week. Anyone who agrees should contact the Rail Delivery Group and Transport Focus to demand this chage. 


13th July

Five years ago - last night (in 2018) we held the Book Launch for The Politics of Consultation at the Reform Club. Co-incidentally, Lord Northbrook has just quoted from our earlier book, The Art of Consultation in the House of Lords Report Stage debate on the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. Still 100% relevant!


11 July

The Court of Appeal (the Everleigh case)  has overturned the Binder judgment of two years ago. This was the case that declared the Government's disability strategy unlawful because the survey it had organised had failed to meet the Gunning Principles. Unlike the Judge at first instance, the Court of Appeal did not regard the exercise as a 'consultation' Rhion's analysis coming soon!


4 July

Day One of the London ULEZ Judicial Review has heard that the Councils behind the legal challenge argue that TfL did not have the data to support its assertion that 91% of cars are compliant, and that the consultation was therefore inadequate


27 June

A Judgment of the administrative Court has held that the Home Secretary acted unlawfully in changing the Guidance for financial support for victims of trafficking without the required consultation. See


20 June

Whilst studying the on achieving net zero, I came across a submission from IPSOS MORI that contained this valuable quote from Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, - "Our report shows that the public does support net zero policies, but that this support is fragile and influenced by how these policies affect individuals personally and whether they see them as fair. There is a clear need for policy-makers to engage with the public on the societal transformations needed to reach net zero and to ensure policies are affordable and fair." (my emphasis!)


12 June: Respected Cross-bench peer, Lord Carlile has challenged the Government for not having consulted properly on the countries which are deemed safe for the return of asylum seekers. This is the infamous Schedule 1 of the Illegal Migration Bill. He argues there was no due diligence; they hadn't even consulted our Ambassadors. (Now Blog 31)


31 May: Barclays Bank will shortly close its branch at my local town of Biggleswade. The local Council is upset - because the Bank promises a consultation - but has not been in touch. Decision already taken??


27th May: In the long-awaited legal challenge to the London ULEZ plan, LB of Harrow has been granted leave to include the 'unlawful consultation' argument in the grounds of judicial review.


25th May: Prof Alexis Jay has criticised the Home Secretary's decision to hold a consultation on  the key 'mandatory reporting' recommendations of the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse - which she chaired. She says it duplicates what's already been done and is a delaying tactic (Now see blog)


19th May: BBC reporting today that ASDA is 'consulting' staff over reductions in pay. That's not really a consultation, more like a P & O style demand for changes with the threat of redundancy of they say No.


17th May: Gareth Phillips of Pinsent Masons has published a vakuable critique of the Government's suggestion  on community benefits for onshore wind projects in England. These appear in a consultation last week and closing in July - an exercise that might reveal if there genuinely is as much public opposition as Tory Backbenchers imagined. 


12th May. I've just announced my 'Briefings for Councillors' which I think can be especially helpful for the hundreds of new Councillors elected last week. Details here, but ideally please make contact to consider the best way to meet local requirements


13th May: In a self-righteous nod to data collecrtion purity, I once announced that I wouldn't listen to the Eurovision Song contest until those voting were to listen to each contestant without knowing what country it was representing. Impractical, I know, but was I entirely wrong?


12th May. I've just announced my 'Briefings for Councillors' which I think can be especially helpful for the hundreds of new Councillors elected last week. Details here, but ideally please make contact to consider the best way to meet local requirements


10th May. News tonight of the Government's U-turn on its Bill to remove all EU-originating legislation by 31 Dec. My February Blog explained why doing this without consultation was so unacceptable to Peers. Reads well today!


8th May: Controversy rages over TfLs engagement process on the withdrawal of day 'Travel Cards' for those going into the cpital on a day. Critics demand a full consultation. 


4th May. A former headtecher is unhappy with a consultation on merging schools in Whitby threatens a Judicial Review. Shows the absurdity that this seems the only available remedy!


29th April: Attention switches to consultation as the Government's Gambling White Paper just prolongs a debate that's already taken too long. See a good account of the likely pitfalls from Fraser Henderson.


27th April: The Scottish Government launches a consultation on - an important emerging issue


23 April: World-class conductor, Simon Rattle uses his interview in The Times to express his concern that BBC & Arts Council cuts to classical music were not subject to consultation


23 April: More examples of 'school street' proposals. Havering Council is keen on them, with the latest around Gidea Park school subject to a consultation that closes this week.


21 April: In Scotland, there's a big row over Insch hospital in rural Aberdeenshire, with campaigners complaining of a lack of engagement. A consultation based on ten options may be subject to judicial review.

20 April: In advance of its Milan conference on Citizens Assemblies on 27/28 April, the Federation of Innovation in Democracy, FIDE has published a paper 'Including the under-represented'. A significat ontribuition to the evolution of standards for these dialogue methods.


18 April Devon County Council has halted consultations on plans to cut services for disabled people, after being served a letter before claim by the Exeter and District Mencap Society.