Is there any benefit of “virtual consultation rooms”?

Comment & Analysis: It’s getting to the stage where I have to plead with councils: Please stop using “virtual consultation rooms”.

But I also want to know, are there readers out there who like “virtual consultation rooms”? Do you think there are benefits?

Earlier this year I also tweeted: “Online ‘virtual consultation rooms’ — which are being used for a number of projects at the moment — should be banned. It shouldn’t be counted as part of consultation, especially not if there’s no other way to access the relevant files.”

I’m not the only one who thinks ill of the apparently high-tech solution:

There are different levels of what I see as the pain from them, from also having PDFs available outside the “virtual” room but just poorly named:

One of the latest projects that use the system is Limerick’s Wickham Street to Clare Street
Active Travel Scheme. There seems to be no alternative to using the virtual room, which is virtually unusable on phones.

The entry page to the consultation room even notes: “For the best experience, please use a desktop / laptop computer running Google Chrome as your web browser.”

Given how most people use the internet on their phones, this shouldn’t be on.

If councils are really wedded to the idea (I don’t kind how such can be justified), then at least the files, drawings and reports etc should be available on a normal webpage.



  1. They’re rubbish, the last piece of feedback I gave to one of these was along the lines of “can you simplify the website, this user experience is awful and not fit for purpose” – the reality was I couldn’t even give feedback on the infrastructure project that was under consultation so I complained about the website – daft stuff


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