In October 2016, the Government announced a new Northwest Runway, Runway 3, at Heathrow Airport as its preferred option to deliver airport expansion in the South East of England. Traverse was contracted by the Department for Transport to deliver the nation-wide consultation on the draft Airports National Policy Statement in parallel with their consultation on UK Airspace Policy.
The issue of airport expansion has long been debated by both politicians and the public so the consultation generated a lot of media interest and received more than 70,000 responses.
We were involved from the outset of the consultation project, working alongside DfT officials and the independent consultation adviser (a new role created specifically for this consultation reflecting its high-profile) to support a fair and transparent consultation process. Our analysis and report were also peer reviewed by an external consultancy.
Consultation report (under our previous name, OPM Group, is available here).
We set up a fully accessible online form designed to reflect DfT’s brand. We also commissioned an extensive range of security tests to confirm the ability of the platform to withstand a cyber-attack.
In addition to providing advice on the questions, we produced matrix tables setting out the design process, the interdependencies between the questions and how they scored against the Department’s three consultation objectives. We also worked with the Department’s Behavioural Research team to explore what style and tone would work best.
Processing of responses
The consultation received more than 50,000 campaign responses, over half of which had some sort of variation. Our system’s ability to automate the analysis of semi-identical responses, resulted in significant cost and time efficiencies for the client.
Segmentation of the analysis team enabled us to respond efficiently to the observed pattern of responses which involved highly technical stakeholder responses and a very large number of campaign-inspired public responses.
Some analysts focussed on the campaign-inspired responses while others worked on specific questions, enabling them to develop expertise in the specific topics. This approach not only gave us and the client additional confidence in the quality of the analysis but also proved most productive and resource efficient.
We met the challenging deadline for such a large consultation of delivering a full draft summary report six weeks after the close of the consultation. We received excellent feedback both from the policy leads and the senior officials, commending the quality of the report.