Short Essay on the Purposes of Consultation

Such witnesses or the associations they represent might, also, be invited to submit or might they volunteer to submit memoranda containing statements of their points of view. “A government,” says Professor Laski, “which embarks on a policy must offer the means of judging that policy.

The opinion it has elicited by organised inquiry is fundamental to that end. The evidence it has collected, the facts at its disposal, can never be refused to its subjects if it is to build its opinion in the reasoned judgment of its citizens.”

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Then, consultation might be undertaken, and this would apply especially when government has some legislation definitely in mind, in order to test the reaction to its proposals. Such consultation, which helps to shape a bill before it is introduced, enables a government to forestall parliamentary criticism and to take the wind out of the sails of the Opposition.

Consultation for this purpose is also sought by departments of the government which have been given power of making rules and regulations under the authority of a statute. In this way, the department is sometimes enabled to make adjustments in the proposed rules, avoiding the unpopularity which it would have incurred otherwise.

Finally, a further purpose of consultation may be to keep in touch with public opinion about the administration for which the department is responsible. That is, the department must be capable of explaining itself and defending its actions. Consultative Committees and advisory bodies provide a means of “articulate rational defence.” Administration does not operate in a vacuum.

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