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Newsletter, March 2006

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Equal Opportunities Commission

Heralded as the most significant change in sex equality legislation for 30 years, the New Equality Bill will place the onus on organisations to demonstrate fair treatment of women and men. The Equal Opportunities Commission wants to raise awareness of the new Duty and seek comments on their draft Code of Practice. We are at the beginning of a 12 week online consultation.

Environment Agency TE2100

One of the Environment Agency’s most important areas of work at the moment is around flooding and flood risk. A major Environment Agency project, TE2100 is reviewing options for managing flood risk on the River Thames. An online consultation aimed at key stakeholders is seeking early input into this work and will be going live very soon.


One of the projects we have been most excited over the last year has been a national project for the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM). Here, the aim has been to engage with large numbers of lay people about their priorities and concerns around the management of nuclear waste, in essence to understand public acceptability. We produced a discussion guide with information, instructions and a reply form to enable community groups to understand the issues and communicate their views to CoRWM.

568 reply forms were received from groups across the UK, and at least 2826 individuals participated in a discussion using the guide. The results have been inputted onto an online form and from there transferred into our database for analysis. The results will be available on the website later this spring. so watch this space...

England’s Waste Strategy Review for Defra

The overall objective of this consultation for Defra is to reduce the impact of waste management on the environment and to develop the economic benefit of using waste as a resource while meeting European obligations. This is primarily an online process. Defra wanted an online process for a number of reasons, not least to encourage waste minimisation. We are a week into a twelve week consultation and it is already attracting much attention with over 400 people registered to participate.

Still at the coalface

Dialogue by Design's online projects are built on our experience of running face-to-face workshops and conferences. This has led some people to think we no longer hack away on the front line and that we have withdrawn from the rough and tumble of meetings with real people to sit in front of our computers.

Nothing could be further from the truth. For example, Pippa and Andrew are involved in a project so potentially difficult that they recently spent two days in Brussels actually rehearsing the workshop. We will have three hours to hammer out an agreement that could eventually transform the workings of an entire industry. (We could not say more!)

Meanwhile almost all of our larger projects require us to get out there with flip chart and pens at one stage or another. We have no intention of withdrawing from this work as we feel it is fundamental to being able to design the best consultations and engagement processes, whatever methods we use to get people’s responses.

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