8 VIEWS ON CONTRIBUTING TO THE CONSULTATION
8.1 This chapter presents brief information about respondents' experiences of the consultation process. The consultation questionnaire included a single question which asked respondents how they had heard about the consultation document:
Q14: How did you find out about this consultation document?
8.2 This question, however, was only included in the consultation questionnaire that could be downloaded from the Scottish Government website. It did not appear in the consultation document itself, nor was it included in the Nourish Scotland online survey. Thus it was only answered by a subset of consultation respondents. However, a number of other respondents offered comments which offer insights into people's experiences of the consultation process. Consideration of such comments has the potential to enhance understanding of the responses received, and to help improve consultation practice in the future.
How respondents found out about the consultation document
8.3 About a third of respondents provided information about how they had found out about the consultation document, with many citing more than one source. Sources included the following:
- Scottish Government - direct email
- Scottish Government - as a result of ongoing links
- Scottish Government - launch event
- Scottish Government - other channels (e.g. website, consultation alert)
- Other organisations - emails, newsletters, websites, events
- Professional / interest group networks
- Colleagues (internal or external)
- The media - BBC, the press, internet, social media
- Other - by accident; word of mouth
8.4 While the Scottish Government was the most commonly cited source of initial information about the consultation, the important role played by stakeholder groups such as Nourish Scotland and the Soil Association in bringing the consultation document to people's attention was also apparent. More specifically, the eight Nourish Scotland events and the 33 Nourish Scotland survey responses accounted for 41 responses (just under a fifth of the total received).
General feedback on contributing to the consultation exercise
8.5 Although there was no other direct question on the consultation process, comments were provided by a number of respondents. These comments suggested that respondents generally welcomed the consultation, viewing this as an important topic and one on which they were encouraged to see the Government take action. They were pleased to have an opportunity to submit their views.
8.6 Several respondents indicated that they had shared the document with other colleagues or that their submission had been drawn up in consultation with others or informed by discussions with internal and external colleagues.
8.7 Three organisations (Nourish Scotland, Food and Health Alliance and Keep Scotland Beautiful) had organised more formal events or other activities based on the consultation. Feedback from these activities suggests that the opportunity to debate the issues and share ideas had been viewed as a valuable part of the process by both organisers and participants. Several responses from individuals and organisations referenced participation in the Nourish Scotland event in particular as having informed their submission.
8.8 Several comments suggested that those who had contributed to the process were keen for the consultation to be viewed as part of an ongoing engagement process. One organisational response urged the Scottish Government to 'capitalise on this interest in food-related issues at it develops the proposals set out in the document'. Respondents (both organisations and individuals) indicated that they were looking forward to hearing the outcome of the exercise, wished to stay involved in contributing to the Good Food Nation vision, and, in a few cases, noted interest in becoming involved in the Food Commission.
8.9 A small number of more negative comments were also offered. In particular, it was suggested that there was overlap between questions, and that not all the questions were well formulated. One respondent questioned the value of contributing to the consultation exercise, and another thought it should have been promoted more actively.
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