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What the Code does and does not apply to, and other forms of engagement


The Code applies to formal, public, written consultation exercises launched by central Government Departments and other public sector organisations that have signed up to it. It does not apply to more informal consultation practices that may be used to inform a later, formal consultation exercise.

As Green Papers are a form of consultation document the Code of Practice is also applicable to these.

Given their independent nature, Independent Reviews commissioned by Ministers are not Government consultation exercises and do not, therefore, have to observe the criteria in the Code. However, the Code and this guidance may include useful tips for those involved in such reviews.

Calls for evidence which are run by Government are usually initiatives launched at the very beginning of a review or a policy exercise and are therefore low on content. These are not consultation exercises and therefore not subject to the Code of Practice. They tend not to contain specific questions about proposals or options to solve a particular issue. Such calls will often inform later-date consultation exercises as the review’s recommendations are being taken forward.

White Papers and Impact Assessments do not in themselves constitute consultation documents. However, these will often have been informed by consultation exercises.

Formal, written consultation will not always be the best way to get input or to engage people and there are many other ways of engaging with citizens and with stakeholders. Sources of information for various methods can be found in this guidance. Your Departmental Consultation Co-ordinator will be able to advise you regarding exercises that contain elements seeking views from stakeholders and/or the public and the relevance of the Code of Practice.

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