How to publish on GOV.UK

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Consultations

Create, update and conclude a consultation on GOV.UK.

Consultation lifecycle

Consultations stay on the same page of GOV.UK throughout their lifecycle. The status starts as ‘Open’ and changes automatically:

  • from ‘Open’ to ‘Closed’ on the closing date you specify, and the contact details disappear
  • from ‘Closed’ to ‘Concluded’ when you upload the government response or enter text about the outcome in the detail box

Create and start a consultation

  1. Select the ‘New document’ tab and click on ‘Consultation’.

  2. Add a title and summary and enter some body copy of no more than 100 words which summarises the call for responses.

  3. Enter the opening and closing dates.

  4. Under ‘Ways to respond’, add the contact details for public responses. If you’re providing a downloadable response form, add it here rather than uploading it with other attachments.

  5. Under ‘Topics’ choose which topic(s) the consultation is related to from the drop down list.

  6. The consultation will automatically be tagged to your organisation. If more organisations are involved you can tag them under ‘Lead organisations’ and ‘Supporting organisations’.

  7. Schedule the publication for the opening date (you don’t want the consultation to appear until it is open). Tick the box next to ‘Schedule for publication’ and enter the date in the boxes that appear.

  8. Click ‘Save and continue editing’. You can now upload attachments (the attachments tab won’t appear until you have saved the document).

Upload the consultation document

  1. Select the ‘Attachments’ tab.

  2. Attach the main consultation document, plus any supporting documents that are part of the consultation, eg technical papers, by clicking on ‘Upload new file attachment’.

  3. Add links to supporting documents such as impact assessments in the body copy (impact assessments should be separate publications).

  4. Select the ‘Document’ tab, scroll down to the end of the page and click ‘Save’.

  5. Click on ‘Submit for 2nd eyes’. The editor reviewing the page will need to click ‘Schedule’ in order for the consultation to go live at the scheduled time.

When the consultation reaches its closing date the status changes to ‘Closed’, with the message ‘We are analysing your feedback’.

Update a consultation

After the consultation has closed there may be some public feedback or other documents to add to the page before the consultation process is fully concluded.

Don’t change the original text, this will move to the bottom with the sub heading ‘Original consultation’.

  1. Select the ‘Public feedback’ tab

  2. Add text to summarise the update (maximum 100 words) in the ‘Detail/summary’ field.

  3. Click ‘Save’.

  4. You can now upload any attachments about the public feedback by clicking on ‘Upload new file attachment. This is an optional field.

  5. Select the ‘Document’ tab, scroll down to the end of the page and click ‘Save’.

  6. Click on ‘Submit for 2nd eyes’. The editor reviewing the page will need to publish the consultation again for the ‘Detail of feedback received’ section to appear on the consultation.

When the consultation is updated, the status remains as ‘Closed’. The new content shows at the top of the page under the title ‘Detail of feedback received’.

Conclude a consultation

When the government response is ready, you should conclude the consultation.

Don’t change the original text, this will move to the bottom with the sub heading ‘Original consultation’.

  1. Open the document for editing and click on the ‘Final outcome’ tab.

  2. Add text in the Detail/Summary field to summarise the government’s response (maximum 100 words).

  3. Click on ‘Save’.

  4. Upload documents that are part of the consultation as attachments, eg the official government response and final impact assessment, by clicking on ‘Upload new file attachment.

  5. Documents produced as a result of the response should be published as separate publications and linked to, eg implementation plans, command papers, new guidelines.

  6. Select the ‘Document’ tab, scroll down to the end of the page and click ‘Save’.

  7. Click on ‘Submit for 2nd eyes’. The editor doing the review will need to publish the consultation for the the status changes to ‘Outcome’. The new content will show at the top of the page under the title ‘Detail of outcome’.

Don’t add more information or attachments to the page after the government response has been published.