How to use 'have your say' interactive features

Information about how to sign up for and use our discussion forums, blogs, newsletters wikis and webchat tools, plus our moderation policy.

How to register for a new account (new users)

While in the 'have your say' section of the site, click on the 'register' link in the top right corner of the page. Fill in the form with your details. The username is the only data that will be displayed on the site.

We suggest that you choose a username which resembles your real name as a courtesy to your fellow users, but this is not required. You are kindly requested not to enter a username that can be deemed a commercial/company name, unless you are participating as a nominated spokesperson for that organisation.

Read the acceptable use policy and discussion rules on our terms and conditions page and tick the box to confirm that you accept them. Click on the 'join now!' button to complete registration. You will see a message and receive an email confirming what you need to do next and containing your login details. You should keep this for future reference.

How to login (existing users)

While in the 'have your say' section of the site, click on the 'sign in' link in the top right corner. Enter your username and password. If you wish, you can tick 'next time automatically sign me in' so you don't have to sign in again on the computer you are currently using. Click on the 'sign in' button.

If you cannot remember your username or password, follow the 'I've forgotten my password' link and enter the email address you used when you registered with the site. Your username and password will be emailed to you.

How to change your password

While logged in and browsing the 'have your say' section of the site, click on your username in the top right corner of any page. Click on the 'change my password' link and follow the instructions. Click the 'save changes' button to confirm your changes.

How to use discussion forums

While in the 'have your say' section of the site, click on the 'forums' link in the top right corner to access our discussion forums.

You will see a list of all the current discussion topics. Select the forum you wish to view and you will see the selected topic and the participants' posts to date.

You can select whether you want to see the posts in order with the newest or oldest post on top of the list. Do take the time to read back through topics to get a grip on the discussion before you join in.

This quick step-by-step guide explains how to post a message in the discussion space:

  • To post in a discussion forum, you must first sign in (see above)
  • To add a new topic, click on 'write a new post'. You will only see this option if the forum you are using allows you to do so. Fill in the 'subject' line and enter your comment in the 'message' box.
  • To reply to a comment raised by someone else, select the 'reply' button on the right hand side of their comment. Enter your response in the message field.
  • To quote a comment raised by someone else, click on the 'quote' button on the right hand side of their comment. Enter your response to their comment in the message field.
  • Optionally, add some words or phrases in the 'tags'. Tags are semantic terms that other tell other users what your comment is about. The words you enter here will appear as links in the tag could in the right hand column of the forums, allowing others to navigate by common discussion themes.  
  • Please click on 'preview'. At this point you can still change anything. 
  • When you are satisfied with your post, click on "post".

Moderation policy

All of the discussion forums on this site employ a pre-moderation strategy, which means that all posts are checked against the discussion rules and acceptable use of comments policy as outlined in our terms and conditions, before they are published.

We do not censor participants' opinions. All comments will be published unless they are in breach of the above rules.

Topics are actively moderated by relevant Department for Communities and Local Government policy officials and their representatives.

Moderators regularly visit the forum discussions and where appropriate submit posts to encourage discussion. They facilitate online consultations to ensure that everyone can take part in discussion and get their views across. They encourage debate by asking questions but will not offer opinions. Moderators are concerned with the quality of the discussion, rather than the interests of one individual, group or idea over another.

Moderators will normally be monitoring the site between 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday. Comments will not be published outside of these hours.

Forums are readable at all times and you can submit a post at any time.

What to do if you still need help

If you experience any problems with posting messages on the website, please email the Department webteam at webmaster@communities.gsi.gov.uk.

Explain the problem in your email in detail, and let us know if you wish the message to be posted on your behalf.

General queries are also welcome via email at webmaster@communities.gsi.gov.uk.

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