Closing the feedback loop is the final step in the consultation and engagement life cycle.

If your respondent never hears from you again after spending their time putting together a thoughtful submission for your consultation activity, it leaves them feeling unvalued, unheard and generally unloved. Now, most people aren’t waiting by the phone for a thank-you text from their state department’s outreach coordinator, but a default “submission complete” page is not enough to promote repeat engagement with your activities, and not everyone has the time or expertise to read your painstakingly crafted consultation report.

In focus today: response publishing. Government agencies worldwide are adopting innovative tools to ensure a transparent and accountable dialogue with their citizens. Publishing respondent replies is a great way to close the loop at a glance, and the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care is a prime example of using publishable replies to engage with the public and close the feedback loop.

Recently, the Department of Health consulted the Australian people on tobacco control legislation using Citizen Space. What sets this consultation apart is the Department’s proactive approach to response publishing, which allows the public to access and analyse responses based on various criteria. This approach demonstrates the commitment to transparency and makes the engagement process more inclusive and informative. The “Review of Tobacco Control Legislation” consultation aimed to gather public input on a critical piece of legislation that could profoundly impact health law and how people purchase tobacco products. The Department wanted to ensure that the public’s voices were heard and effectively communicated back to them, especially as 75 anonymous submissions were received on this hot-button topic.  

One of the most significant features of Citizen Space’s response publishing is the ability for the public to filter responses based on primary interest in the subject. This means that individuals with specific concerns or interests can easily find responses related to their primary area of concern, facilitating a more personalised and informative engagement experience. Whether you are a concerned parent, a subject matter expert, or someone with a unique perspective, you can now navigate through the responses more efficiently, making the consultation results accessible to everyone. This provides clarity and context, allowing the public to understand who is voicing their opinions and in what capacity. This transparency adds another layer of trust and accountability to the consultation process.

Image showing the "search responses" feature in Citizen Space, where you could look for a response by key word, or filter by respondent background or expertise, and/or by the capacity in which they responded.
Here is an example of how you can set criteria for commonly searched information and demographics.

By actively providing clear, transparent, and easily accessible feedback, the Department shows a commitment to ensuring that the time and effort citizens invest in participating in consultations are genuinely valued. This approach increases trust in the organisation and encourages more people to come forward and share their views.  

The Department’s of Health response publishing strategy also adds value in the long term. By providing a structured and transparent way of sharing feedback, the Department not only communicates effectively with its citizens but also creates a historical record of the consultation process. This record can be invaluable for future decision-making, as it helps to establish a clear link between citizen input and policy outcomes.

This example of using response publishing features in Citizen Space is a testament to the evolving landscape of government-citizen interaction. It exemplifies how technology can be harnessed to make consultations more inclusive, informative, and accountable. The Department’s efforts pave the way for more organisations to adopt similar strategies, fostering trust and constructive dialogue between governments and their constituents.

If you’d like to learn more about closing the feedback loop or publishable replies, book a free demo and we’ll walk you through it.