Generally speaking, a public consultation is:
- a dialogue between citizens and decision-makers (elected officials, administrators or heads of businesses), during which the public is invited to become informed about a project, ask questions, and express informed opinions.
- a sort of contract whereby decision-makers agree to be influenced by public opinion.
Following some rules helps foster a relationship of trust with citizens. These will mainly cover:
- the announcement of the consultation;
- the documentation;
- the process of public consultation;
- the post-consultation report;
- the follow-up to the public consultation.