Over the past five calendar years to December 2007, Communities and Local Government and my predecessor Department undertook respectively:
24 public consultations (ODPM 2003)
53 public consultations (ODPM 2004)
57 public consultations (ODPM 2005)
34 public consultations ( Communities and Local Government 2006)
48 public consultations (Communities and Local Government 2007)
All of these consultations were launched in order to inform policy development, as a way of exposing preliminary policy analysis to public scrutiny. Consultation is one of a number of mechanisms by which Government seek to listen to as wide a range of opinion as possible before making a final decision. Information on the non-preferred options is not collected, and this could be provided only at disproportionate cost.