Process and Planning

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The process and planning stage was a collaborative approach between the Waterways Ireland staff and research project team.


It was decided by Waterways Ireland that the consultation would concentrate on:

Plan: Traditional and Technological Mix

The consultation organisers wanted to include e-consultation elements in an overall consultation process that ran along traditional lines. The traditional element allowed respondents to send in written submissions or request a face-to-face meeting with the consulters. The organisers were experienced in running traditional consultations; however, it was the electronic communications component, or web site approach, that was new to them.

After a number of meetings between the research group and Waterways Ireland, it was decided that the team would design a web site.


To participate in the consultation, it was envisaged that potential respondents could browse the online consultation documents, then join a discussion forum where they could leave comments on the issues that interested them.

There then followed a short process of negotiation in relation to the design of the web site. The research team took the Waterways Ireland consultation document, converted it to HTML and put it on-line.

Then, the research team developers set up a discussion forum before showing the consultation organisers how to enter the first questions to start off a discussion.


Every part of the site was reviewed by Waterways Ireland and amended in accordance with their suggestions. The result, for better or worse, was a site that mirrored their off-line consultation.