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How we operate: How we consult

We aim to ensure that our policies and strategies are based on the best available evidence and policy research, and that the impact of our policies is understood by the Council and its stakeholders before decisions are taken. We consult both formally and informally on the development and effectiveness of our policies and strategies, using a variety of methods.

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Consultation documents

When we propose to make a significant change to our policies, strategies or methods of funding, we normally carry out a formal consultation. This usually involves publishing a formal consultation document that:

  • Describes the proposed changes - and options - and the specific issues on which we are seeking views.
  • Explains the background and context to the proposals, including how they relate to our strategic aims and objectives.
  • Describes the consultation process and the timetable.

We also use other methods of consultation such as conferences, consultation meetings, short-term policy working groups, electronic discussion boards and face-to-face meetings. Our formal consultations will normally last for a period of 12 weeks.

Where we are proposing to make minor changes to an existing policy, strategy or funding method, we do not usually undertake a formal consultation exercise but, instead, we may consult as appropriate the representative bodies of colleges and universities, their staff and their students.

Who we consult

When we propose making significant changes to our strategies, policies or funding methods, we always seek to consult:

  • Colleges and universities.
  • Other stakeholder bodies.
  • Other bodies or groups who have an interest in further and higher education in Scotland.

If you are interested in taking part in our formal consultation processes, please contact us
by email at

Outcomes of our consultations

We will normally publish the outcomes of our formal consultations on our website. This may include:

  • Summary of the responses received from the consultation exercise.
  • Decisions that we have taken as a result.
  • Next steps that we propose to take.

We will also generally make individual responses to our formal consultations available on request.

Where we have commissioned research or studies as part of a review of our policies, strategies or funding methods, we will normally make the results of such work publicly available.