Mayor Sadiq Khan’s public consultation into the closure of dozens of police stations and front counters has been branded “possibly the worst consultation of 2017” by an independent institute which monitors and advises on public engagement strategies.
In September London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon accused the Mayor of presiding over a “shambolic” and “sham” consultation after the publication of public meeting dates was delayed.
That same month Mr Khan tried to duck responsibility for the meetings, telling AMs that they were being “organised locally” by councils and individual Met borough commanders, despite the closures forming part of his own Police and Crime Plan.
Now the entire consultation process has been criticised by the Consultation Institute which says City Hall has “ignored best practice” and failed to ensure “transparency” in its analysis of responses.
The institute highlights the lack of demographic breakdown of respondents and says the Mayor’s office has potentially made an error by counting each online response and meeting attendee as separate people when “some of those who attended might also have completed an online questionnaire,” without providing evidence that none of the attendees and respondents are duplicates.
It brands this an error which “any market research graduate trainee” would have avoided.
The institute also suggests the Mayor’s decision to proceed with the closures could be open to legal challenge because of “an inadequate analysis” of the responses.
It says: “the published note of the Mayor of London’s decision suggests that Sadiq Khan was not provided with any analysis of the consultation – merely told that All responses to the consultation were given careful consideration, and read and analysed. This analysis has then been taken into account in formulating the final Strategy.’
“The law requires the Mayor to give the consultation ‘conscientious consideration’ (Gunning Principle Four). As it is his decision, he cannot delegate it.
“He cannot therefore escape his own legal responsibility to give that consideration. Without a proper analysis of the responses, we wonder whether he is not vulnerable to legal challenge on this point.”