Contents this month
This consultation ran from February to May 2006. More than 2500
stakeholders were invited to participate, including environmental
organisations, local and regional government, waste and recycling
industry, consultancies, trade associations and interested individuals.
The objective was to review Waste Strategy 2000 and proposals and
ideas for the new waste strategy. The consultation aroused a remarkable
degree of interest: over 4000 responses were received, reflecting
a wide spectrum of views on the various aspects of the consultation
Our challenge was to present a complex consultation
in a way that allowed participants to quickly find the information
of interest to them, and to integrate the processing of results
submitted online, by e-mail and on paper.
The consultation documents were quite extensive with a large number
of questions. The document was divided into 10 main sections with
40 subsections. For each subsection, a webpage displayed the relevant
text followed by the consultation questions relevant to that section.
A content menu allowed participants to jump directly to any section
of interest and completed sections were marked with a colour code.
As for all of our online consultations, participants could come
back and edit their submission at any time, making it easy for a
long submission to be entered at several sittings.
In terms of the responses, we had to integrate three streams of
incoming submissions: online via the website, email, and post. While
responses via the website were directly saved into the consultation
database, email responses had to be transferred into the database
via a special interface. Postal submissions were scanned and, where
possible, our tools for automated text recognition were applied.
Our general principle was to bring all streams of responses together
enabling us to collate and analyse them within the same system,
making analysis consistent across all three streams.
Surrey County Council and the district and borough councils of Surrey
wished to build on a series of consultations that had been held
on the siting of waste facilities by holding a joint consultation
to look at the management of municipal waste, in particular waste
minimisation and recycling and the disposal of residual waste.
We accepted responses to the consultation online via a special
website, by email and using printed survey forms, and invited key
stakeholders and the general public to respond. For this consultation
it was felt to be particularly important to understand the balance
of views across the county. So in parallel, we recruited a sample
of the population of Surrey designed to be demographically representative
of the population as a whole and asked them the same questions as
the key stakeholders. The initial analysis already shows some interesting
differences between the two parallel surveys.
See next month's newsletter for more
about the conclusions.