The 4 letters you need when planning your public consultation

The 4 letters you need when planning your public consultation

Planning a public consultation? There are just 4 words you need to consider that may save you a lot of time and effort.

These are from the acronym RACI – Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed and they can be a great basis to start your stakeholder communication strategy – or if you work in the role of a project manager or communications lead. Why? Simply, it’s all about getting your internal teams in order before you even think about communicating to stakeholders.

The RACI model is great because it serves as a straightforward tool that clearly lays out roles and responsibilities, avoiding confusion during any project.

If your public consultation will see you working with multiple stakeholder groups, sending thousands of emails, attending town halls and meetings and working with independent bodies, getting your internal processes sharp can’t be underestimated.

The RACI matrix as shown here depicts owners in a project. Your owners may be completely different, but the RACI ownership should be assigned across your team.

Combined with the power of Tractivity, working with a RACI matrix before you start your public consultation can make your life easy by helping you define and document project roles and responsibilities. It is an effective tool that can be used in ensuring that all processes in your project go smoothly.

If you’re interested in how it works – read on!


This refers to the class of people that are responsible for the work in a particular aspect of the project process. Just like any business, there are people that will need to take up roles, and there will be a range of people in charge of different processes. By charting on a matrix the various responsibilities, you can be sure that nothing ever slips the net.

At Tractivity, we know that many people can work on the actual communication to stakeholders. However, with RACI, you would have one person that hits send on a communication, or one person who is responsible for updating data in line with GDPR. Whilst we designed Tractivity to give a live overview of everything in the system, regardless of if you are internal or external, we do find that many customers lean towards working with RACI to ensure there is never any task duplication.


Accountability does what it says on the tin. When it comes to a project, a consultation or general stakeholder engagement, there will be someone who has to be accountable at the end of the day. This can be both task-related ‘did you send that survey? through to a wider company sense of accountability – have you met legislation around consultation? Have all stakeholders been engaged in the relevant time period?

Those accountable in the RACI world also have to make sure that those responsible deliver optimum quality, which means that even if certain activities are done automatically, a person must be accountable for the task, which makes this a mandatory role. On some tasks, the Responsible party may also serve as the Accountable one. However, you would only have one Accountable person assigned to each task or deliverable.

When it comes to your engagement or consultation, Tractivity can help you make your teams accountable. With login data showing who was in the system, when, and what they did, you are not only aware of the team’s work on your project, but you can also pull in-depth reports manually or automatically that help ensure you can prove in a wider sense that you are doing what you have set out to do.

Many of our customers see that legislative reports (such as to Ofgem) now take minutes as opposed to weeks with Tractivity.


Naturally, being consulted is the key part of a consultation process! However, when you are making a RACI matrix, this isn’t about the end user being consulted, but about the day to day or one-off problems with the work process which may require internal consultation and preparing, so when these issues occur in the process, there is a person that handles them. Documenting this is a great way to get ahead of any road blocks, and also helps you inform your strategy for communications because you are planning against likely objections before you even start.


When you start a consultation, you need to be considering who it is that needs to be informed. Again, there are the actual people in the consultation, the stakeholder groups, which Tractivity can absolutely help you to engage with. However, these are also the individuals who are involved in managing the work process and other internal stakeholders who need to be made aware if there are any issues or changes, and have to be up-to-date on any affair of the project. When you map out a RACI matrix, consider all the people who are going to help you. Managers, PR departments – and then build on this to create your external consultation map of who you need to engage.

Planning a public consultation with RACI

Creating a RACI model is quite easy. First, you identify the processes involved in delivering the project and list them out in order of completion. Then, you identify the stakeholders involved and also list them. Then assign those that will be responsible and accountable for tasks.

As you know from external consultations, consultation is a two-way process. They say “teamwork makes the dream work”, and the RACI matrix makes the team work! Without a proper structure that allows you plan adequately, the work going into your public consultation will be tough, but with RACI, that burden is drastically reduced because you have the people in place to deal with a range of situations and the capability to reduce duplication of efforts.

It’s worth saying that without a platform or tool that will make it organized so that you can work properly, public consultations can become an administrative nightmare! Tractivity has the experience working with clients such as the NHS and many local councils, helping them when they are ready to engage and manage stakeholders. To find out more, click for a demo.

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