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CAP1616 says:

As a matter of course, materials should be short and simple. Respondents should not be expected to understand operational technicalities, still less detailed aviation terminology and practice. While some more complex and detailed materials may be necessary to support feedback from technical audiences, these must only support information that is accessible to an everyday audience.

Materials must provide respondents with enough information to ensure that they understand the issues and the potential impact of the proposals on them and can give informed responses – failure here will lead to an ineffective consultation, which will be of little use to the change sponsor and will be unacceptable to the CAA.

Sponsors may consider guidance published by the Plain English Campaign and the Consultation Institute useful.

Preparing and developing materials and questions

Having identified your audiences and the most effective way to reach them, change sponsors must now prepare and package their proposals in a way that communicates them clearly and allows people to fully understand the proposed change(s) and associated impact, so consultees may provide an informed response.

As part of the CAP1616 process all consultation documentation must be uploaded onto the CAA portal, where the online questionnaire will also be hosted. Correctly preparing both the documents and questionnaire is key to the success of the consultation.  It is important to ensure that people fully understand what is being proposed and why, as well as explaining how they can have their say on the matter. It is important that the consultation materials provide enough information that someone without an aviation background can understand the impact of the proposals, both positively and negatively, and recognise the impacts, the noise implications and trade-offs for each of the proposals being made.

Similarly, the questions should be prepared in a way that allows and encourages someone to provide their opinion as to why they support or oppose the proposals, and the reasons behind this opinion.  It is important to reflect on the purpose of public consultation which tCI defines as “a dynamic process which enables the genuine exchange of views between individuals or groups with the objective of influencing decisions, policies and programme of action.”  The ability to offer supporting reasons behind a response to any closed questions is central to meeting this objective.

What you will gain:

The aim of this Materials workstream is to enable change sponsors to:

  • Develop consultation materials which present the proposals and impacts in a way that enables those without an aviation background to give intelligent consideration and response
  • Provide appropriate questions which enable people to provide their response and reasons for the views held on the proposals and the impacts

You will consider:

  • How to present the proposals and noise impacts clearly, avoiding jargon, and reliance on too much technical detail
  • How to develop different materials, such as graphics and maps, to better illustrate complex information
  • How to elicit informed responses through the development of well-thought out questions for the online questionnaire