For those labelgeeks among us, creating or updating a sustainability standard is comparatively straightforward: The ISEAL Standard-Setting Code tells us exactly what to do. There’s a list of stakeholders to be compiled, a draft to be written along a defined structure and two public consultations to be held. It’s still a lengthy process involving hundreds of people and numerous meetings and conversations.
Each manager of a standard-setting process seems to struggle with the same problem: How can I be transparent and inclusive – and still manage to transform an overwhelming number of comments into a meaningful standards document with limited resources?
Amazingly, most try to cope with improvised excel sheets and burgeoning email folders. What a nightmare that can be!
I’m dreaming of an open source consultation management system, compliant with the ISEAL Standard-Setting Code. It should be perfectly feasible to create if a couple of organizations pool their resources. Here’s what it would need to do:
- Run as a web-platform, accessible both for managers and participants of the consultation through their browser.
- Allow managers to upload a consultation draft to the platform and define chapters and paragraphs. Images and annexes need to be possible, too.
- Allow managers to upload an initial list of stakeholders to be invited to participate in the consultation. Additional stakeholders need to be able to register on the site.
- The full text of the consultation draft needs to be available publicly (without requiring a login). It should be offered both in html format and as a word download (to allow for internal consultations in track changes).
- To comment, participants need to log in. They can provide comments on the complete draft, a specific chapter or an individual paragraph. They should be encouraged to propose a new wording.
- All comments should be visible to all registered participants. Participants should be required to identify themselves (name and organization).
- The consultation manager should be able to send reminder emails to participants during the consultation period.
- At the end of the consultation, the manager needs to review all comments, approve/reject/ignore them (and provide a justification). Her task is then to propose a new version of the relevant paragraph (or delete or move it). Once she has finished the revision, the system needs to provide the following documents:
- Revised version of the standard (clean) as html and pdf
- A revised version of the standard with track changes (pdf)
- The list of comments received and action taken
- The revised version then needs to be sent to all participants and stakeholders.
The system described above shouldn’t be too difficult and could be based on existing community systems. I’m also sure that there are already consultation systems around that provide parts of the functionality. While I’m dreaming of such a platform, can you let me know if you have ideas how to best implement it? Or if you would like to use it or even help fund it? Muito obrigada.