CEER believes strongly in stakeholder engagement and the value of good public consultations.
CEER's Public Consultation Guidelines adopt best practice standards. They guide our work by the principles of openness, transparency, consistency and accountability. Our PC Guidelines are comprehensive, setting out (1) whom (2) when and (3) how CEER consults as well as (4) how CEER provides feedback and (5) treats confidential information.
The revised version of our PC Guidelines reflects some refinements following CEER’s first review of its consultation rules and practices in Spring 2012. We considered stakeholder feedback an important part of this process to help us better understand how our consultation practices were perceived. Feedback was sought through a variety of means including by e-mail and ourTwitter account #CEERenergy, an online poll (29 persons responded). CEER met with stakeholders in Brussels, on 19th March, to discuss their experiences with our consultation practices and possible improvements.
There was stakeholder acceptance of online questionnaires (whereby respondents must submit their response using an online questionnaire) as being CEER's standard form of consultation (with some suggestions for improvements).
Our practice of providing feedback through an Evaluation of Responses and our efforts to facilitate stakeholder planning and engage stakeholders (e.g. our standard 8-week consultation period, and our dedicated workshops) were particularly valued. Stakeholders appreciate being consulted (even on the consultation rules themselves).
The improvements we have introduced to our public consultation practices relate mainly to: - the online questionnaire tool (increasing the technical limit to 1,000 characters per response box, downloadable versions of the completed questionnaire, and allowing respondents to upload position papers as background documents); - more streamlined Evaluation of Responses and singling out the voice of targeted groups (e.g. consumer representative bodies) in the Evaluation of Responses; - providing more feedback on the consultation process; and - advocating best consultation practices generally by consulting bodies at EU level.
For the past number of years, CEER maintains and regularly updates a Calendar of its planned Public Consultations. A recent addition to the onlinepublic consultation calendar is the "next steps" column on the consultation process which should further facilitate stakeholders' planning.