4.1.4 Public consultation

In a highly participatory process, civil society and the media are sometimes given important roles in official public consultation processes (e.g., civil society can assist with organizing and facilitating face-to-face meetings between the public or sectoral groups and the constitution- makers, and media organizations can help by advertising meetings and gathering views—see part 2.2.3). In processes where no mechanism is provided for people to have input into the official process, civil society and the media have sometimes conducted their own public consultation and then provided constitution-makers with analyses of the views submitted. The degree to which this has had an impact on the process has depended on a number of factors, including the credibility of the methodology and the institutions involved as well as the willingness of the constitution makers to make use or review the views. In such circumstances, careful thought should go into how the public consultation is carried out to maximize the likelihood that the decision-makers will be receptive to the people’s views. It may be wise to invite the constitution-makers to attend the consultation so they trust that the process is credible. Although the discussion of how to conduct public consultation and the issues to consider contained in part 2.2.2 is directed toward providing guidance to “official” constitution-makers, many of the points made there are relevant to unofficial consultation.