Objective: "Online consultations utilize the internet to ask a group of people their opinion on an issue (typically a policy in the development stages). An unlimited number of participants can be sent information about the subject or download it online and respond via email or comment on the website.
Online consultations can take different forms. At its simplest, consultation documents can be made available online together with an email address to send responses to.
Online consultation using structured templates is more complex and uses software that is designed to emulate the face-to-face methods used in facilitated workshops. Different templates can be used, for example, to allow participants to brainstorm ideas, identify issues, prioritize solutions, or comment on consultation documents. Online consultation enables participants to comment in detail and those commissioning the process to collate responses and present the results back to participants quickly, comprehensively and transparently. The fact that the participant comments do not need to be transcribed adds real benefit and speeds up analysis.
You should use an online consultation when:
Online Consultation should be avoided if your primary aim is to build strong, lasting relationships. It cannot deliver intensive deliberation, empowered participants, direct decisions or strong relationships between participants" (involve.org.uk).
Online Consultations allows people from every social layer to express their opinions on a subject and depending on the case, even co-develop the agenda for that subject. However, not everyone has easy access to or experience with the internet; "Organizers must ensure that the 'digital divide' does not prevent participation, usually by organizing alternative methods of participation" (involve.org.uk).
|Participation level||Target groups||Number of participants||Duration/Timeline||Implementation||Frequency||Budget|
|Consultation||Any||More than 300||Longer than a week||Virtual event||Any||Medium|