A public consultations information portal start-up has got off to a promising start, registering 100 subscribers in its first five days of operation.
Launched last week, the website provides access to publicly advertised consultations which are open for submissions. These are often hard to track down — which is what gave Public Consultations’ managing director, Tony Quickfall, the idea for the site.
The website collects this information, which is normally listed on organisations’ websites and in newspapers, and brings them together in one place. Public Consultations monitors 80 local newspapers and over 200 websites. The information is picked up and manually loaded into the website’s database, says Quickfall.
Access to basic consultation information, such as submission closing dates, is free, he says. The website also features a search engine, while advanced features — for example email alerts and advanced search — are available to subscribers only.
If a user has saved a previous search in a particular area, such as bills, an email will be automatically sent when related consultations are posted on the site.
Designed and developed by Wellington-based 3months.com, the website covers all 86 local authority councils and 130 government ministries, departments and organisations, says Quickfall.
Consultations monitored include publicly notified resource consents, draft plans, strategies, policies and new bills. Consultations are monitored regularly and the website updated daily, he says.
Quickfall has a background in resource-management and planning-consultation, and the idea for the website was sparked by the difficulty he had finding information about public consultations himself. He found himself constantly having to make phone calls to government departments, some of whom would put him on an email list, while others would ask him to call back at a later date to get the information. He also had to search for information in newspapers and online.
The database, combined with a search engine, could help reduce the business cost of monitoring consultation information, says Quickfall.
Quickfall’s site aims to benefit those businesses and professions interested in monitoring consultations or making submissions, as well as industry sectors such as building, construction and retail.