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Citizen Space initial consultation set up - detailed instructions

Support -

Below are detailed, step-by-step instructions for setting up a new consultation in Citizen Space. You may also wish to download our Quick Start Guide to refer to.

For basic instructions on setting up a new consultation, see this article instead.

Log in

If you are not logged in to your Citizen Space, first log in

Add a new consultation

To get started with adding a consultation, go to the Manage Consultations page and select the 'Add Consultation' link.

Screenshot showing where to find the button to add a new consultation in Citizen Space

Follow the instructions below to do the initial set up of your consultation:

1. Enter the title of your consultation. This title will be displayed on all pages of your consultation, and for public consultations this is searchable via internet browsers. You may edit this title later.

2. If you are a Site Administrator (learn more about different types of Citizen Space users) then you will need to select the Department you would like the consultation to be in from a drop-down menu. If you are not a Site Admin then the consultation will automatically be created in your assigned Department.

3. The final part of the consultation URL is automatically generated based on the consultation title, with a limit of 50 characters. However, you can make changes to this using the Edit button.

Screenshot of the Add consultation page showing title box, department dropdown and consultation URL with the consultation URL edit button highlighted

For more information on consultation URLs, please see this article on creating and editing URLs.

4. Now, select which type of consultation you want to create. Once you have selected this it can't be changed, so please choose carefully.

Consultation type section with online survey option selected

5. Select the Add Consultation button at the bottom right of the page. This takes you to the next screen, which is the new Consultation Dashboard for your consultation. 


Enter consultation information

6. Select the Edit Consultation Details link. This will take you to the next screen, where you can complete the overview page details of your consultation.

Screenshot of the consultation dashboard with the first option in the menu, Edit consultation details, highlighted

7. You may edit your consultation title or URL here, if you wish, or leave them as they are. Please note that if you change the title at this stage, the last part of the URL will not automatically change. If you wish to edit the URL you will need to use the Edit button.

Edit consultation title and URL boxes on the Edit Consultation Details page


8. If you wish to make a consultation private, you can do that here. A private consultation is one that is not searchable by the public, nor will it appear in your consultation hub homepage. To make your consultation private, select the Make this consultation private box. Please note that you will not be able to edit the URL of private consultations. Learn more about Private Consultations.


9. Scroll down the page to the Consultation Overview section. Here you should write some concise paragraphs that define what your consultation is about. You can include images and rich media as well as text. This overview appears on the first page of your consultation once it has been published, and so acts as the introduction to your consultation. You may also wish to write details about any offline events, attached documents and the timings of the consultation, such as when it will close, when results will be published etc.

Screenshot showing the text window for adding your text to the overview page

10. This is optional, but you can also enter text to explain your reasons for consulting in the Why We Are Consulting text box. This helps respondents further understand the purpose of the consultation and may also help citizens to understand how your organisation works. 

Screenshot showing the text window for adding optional text under the heading Why We Are Consulting

11. The 'Give us your views' text appears above the link on your overview page which takes respondents into your consultation questions. Here you can change this text to whatever suits what you are doing e.g. you could change it to say "Fill in your details" if, for example, you are using Citizen Space to share a registration form.

Screenshot of the text box to allow the default 'give us your views' call-to-action heading to be edited or removed

12. If you are a Site Admin, select the individual who will own this consultation from your list of Users. If you are not a Site Admin, you will automatically be assigned as the Owner of the consultation.

Screenshot of the dropdown to change the consultation owner

13. The contact information entered here will appear in the sidebar of your consultation, this will normally be the person/team that respondents can contact to discuss the consultation. You must at least enter a phone number or an email address, but these could be a general switchboard number and enquiries email address, if appropriate.

Screenshot of the section where contact details can be entered

14. Enter the relevant start and end dates for your consultation . You may set up a consultation at any point before the start date that is specified. Citizen Space will automatically move 'forthcoming' consultations to 'open' status at 00.00am on the start date entered in this section. Likewise, a consultation will automatically move to 'closed' status at 00.00pm on the end date entered.

Sreenshot of the section where start and end dates can be selected for the consultation

15. If you would like to include links to websites that are related to your consultation, enter them here.

Screenshot of the section where Related Links can be added to the overview page

16. Likewise, if you would like to include links to other related consultations, enter them here.

Screenshot of the section where links to Related Consultations can be added to the overview page

17. In this section, you may upload documents that provide respondents with further information about your consultation. This is very helpful as it can provide a deeper insight into what your consultation is about and why you are consulting than the overview text on your introduction page. Respondents will be able to view and download the documents from your consultation.

Screenshot of the section where Related Documents can be uploaded to the overview page


18. Enter your 'What Happens Next' text. When your consultation is open, underneath your overview and 'Why We Are Consulting' text, there will be a box with a link that (unless edited) reads 'Give Us Your Views - Online Survey'. Respondents use this link to go through to the consultation. When the consultation closes, this link box is automatically replaced with your 'What Happens Next' text.

NB This text is not mandatory, but it's useful for interested respondents to know what your organisation's plans are and when they can expect to learn how the information they submitted will be used.

Screenshot of the text window where you can enter optional text under the heading What happens next

19. If Areas are enabled on your Citizen Space hub, you can select which Areas apply to your consultation. To select more than one, or to select all Areas, see the instructions on screen. 

Screenshot of the section to apply area labels to a consultation

20. Select which Audiences apply to your consultation. To select more than one, or to select all Audiences, see the instructions on screen.

Screenshot of the section to apply audience labels to a consultation

21. Select which Interests apply to your consultation. To select more than one, see the instructions on screen.

Screenshot of the section to apply interest labels to a consultation

You must select at least one Area (if enabled), Audience and Interest in order to publish your consultation. Respondents may search for consultations by their location/ postcode, type of Audience and Interest(s), so these details help people find consultations that are relevant to them.


22. Select the Save button. At this point you will either see this:

Screenshot of the success message to confirm that changes have been saved and all required information has been completed

Or you might see this:

Screenshot of the warning message to say that changes have been saved but some fields still need completing

If some fields still require completing, you will see a message about which ones you need to address:

An example message showing a few fields which still need to be completed

Enter the missing information, and select the Save button again.

23. Now that all of the information has been added in, it's time to go back to your Consultation Dashboard and finish up.

Screenshot showing the success message to confirm that changes have been saved at the top of the page, and below that on the right-hand side the link back to the Consultation Dashboard highlighted

24. In Step 4, you will have set which type of consultation you are running. The type you selected will now appear as option 2 on your consultation dashboard. At this point, you need to complete the set up of your consultation by selecting this consultation type and entering some more information.

Screenshot of the consultation dashboard options showing options 1 to 5, option two in this example is online survey

Refer to the following articles to complete your set up:

25. You may like to customise how your consultation looks and here you are able to customise the logos or image displayed at the top of the consultation - the theme. You will see the option to do so in your consultation dashboard called 'Manage Theme'. We have more detailed instructions on managing the theme of your consultation.Screenshot showing the consultation dashboard with option 4 in the menu Manage Theme highlighted

Preview your consultation

You are now done setting up your consultation - but the work isn't quite over yet! We strongly suggest you a good amount of time previewing it to help you spot any mistakes or things that could be improved for a respondent. Previewing is a vital part of setting up a good consultation.

You can preview it by selecting the Preview Consultation link on the dashboard.

Screenshot showing the consultation dashboard with option 5 in the menu Preview Consultation highlighted

Read this article for more detailed help on how to use all the previewing features in Citizen Space.

You are also able to send a preview of your consultation for sign-off by another colleague.  This article will guide you on how to do this, How do I send a preview of my consultation to a non-Citizen Space administrator for sign-off?

Publish your consultation

If you are happy with your consultation, you may now publish it by using the green 'Publish' button on the dashboard.

Screenshot of the consultation dashboard with the green Publish button highlighted