Speeches,Talks & Presentations






Over the years I have briefed hundreds of Councillors, new as well as experienced, on the subject of Public engagement and consultation for local authorities (or equivalent) 


It is common for newly elected members to fall foul of the legislation in this area, their unguarded comments occasionally giving rise to costly legal challenges and damaging the progress of critical projects. Colleagues in Democratic Services, Consultation, and Engagement have often complained to me that those with a newly minted “personal mandate” are reluctant to take serious advice from Officers on these matters.


To this end, in collaboration with colleagues from Local Authorities across the Country I have developed the solution. An informative, entertaining briefing featuring examples of best and worst practice from authorities and elected members throughout the UK and drawing on my work on the law of consultation to ensure the message carries weight.


Regardless of party allegiance, members have invariable found these briefings helpful to improve their understanding of best practice and to guide their own relationships with constituents.



These sessions are tailored for each local authority, but common themes include:

  • Why public engagement/consultation is HUGE in the modern political world (inc. public expectations/leaders’ commitments/climate change/planning/health & social care etc)
  • Definitions and distinctions – engagement; consultation; involvement; participation
  • The pitfalls – including Consultation law basics; media relations and managing public opinion.
  • Working together with Officers to achieve optimal outcomes


These sessions typically last 1.5-2.5 hours and are rounded off with a lively Q&A.


To discuss further, email rhion@rhion.com or call 07966 446450




Whilst Rhion is happy to prepare bespoke materials for customised presentations and speeches, these themes are already available:

  • Twenty Years of Public Consultation

Rhion draws on his twenty years at The Consultation Institute to review key developments over the last decade, to illustrate the highs and lows, and draw conclusions that help address the special challenges of the years that lie ahead.

Typically 45-60 minutes.

Available in variants focused on ‘public engagement’ or ‘public dialogue’.

  •  The future of public engagement

There has never been a greater need for high-quality public engagement. Government departments, local Authorities and public agencies of all kinds have to cope with enormous challenges ranging from renewed austerity to climate change. In this thought-provoking presentation, Rhion delivers the inspiring message that active stakeholder engagement will be the most rewarding management discipline of the 2020s … and possibly the new route to the top.

Typically 45-60 minutes.

Available also with a focus on motivating staff and others: as “Your role as a champion of public engagement”. 

  • How to build trust and transparency with your community

Recently developed and delivered for a GRANICUS event in Birmingham, Rhion explores some of the issues that affect trust in public bodies when they engage or consult. He discusses the role that transparency plays, and offers five essential elements of transparency that all engagement and consultation exercises should include.

Typically 30-45 minutes.

  • How Judges made the Law of Consultation

This is the story of how public consultation standards evolved through the active intervention of the Courts. This is an excellent way to learn the rules and to absorb practical advice on best practice.

Typically 90-120 minutes.

Available for small groups or for larger audiences.