The UK government undertakes a variety of public consultation procedures during the implementation of a range of policies, some of which involve public hearings with varying formats. In 2011 it proposed a major change to such procedures used in the redistribution of Parliamentary constituency boundaries. Local Inquiries were deemed not fit for purpose' and eliminated, because they were lengthy and dominated by the political parties seeking electoral gain. This change was opposed in Parliament and an alternative procedure introduced involving Public Hearings which were to be shorter and less conflictual than the Local Inquiries they replaced. The Hearings for the first round of redistributions under the new procedure have now been held. This article assesses whether they were any fitter for purpose'; there was very little participation by the general public and, as before, the proceedings were dominated by the political parties.
- ELECTORAL BIAS