Consultations are a fashionable way for governments to pretend they are listening to everyone’s opinions before going ahead with their original plans. The consultation on Pluralism in Education was such an example. The population were given one of 4 options to decide on how best to solve the problem of the so-called Baptism Barrier. Before the vote, Richard Bruton was advocating for the system we ended up with. It is highly unlikely that this was the option that was most popular with the general public; however, it’s impossible to know for sure as there is no transparency.
My suggestion is that consultations need to have some form of meaning. If the government make people go to the trouble of answering questions, they need to show how they have used the data to come up with their conclusion. In the above example, Richard Bruton never referred to the consultation when the decision was made. The same can be said for most consultations.