Well, it must have seemed a good idea at the time. Ask people for their views. What policies do you want?, was the question. Nick Clegg and David Cameron launched the idea with great fanfare. Crowd sourcing, it’s called – apparently.
Except now 9,500 people have taken the trouble to respond to the government with their ideas, the government has told every single one of them to bog off – basically. All the replies from the relevant government departments to the responders say “Thanks but no thanks” – in Sir Humphrey-speak.
Simon Burall of Involve, a group advising bodies on consultation, comments:
You have to give the government some credit for trying to do this, but badly designed consultations like this are worse than no consultations at all. They diminish trust and reduce the prospect that people will engage again. This is a dangerous problem for a government that is going to have to take people with them when they make very difficult decisions.