This paper examines the place of groups in the consultative process in British policymaking. It stresses the importance of consultation even under the Thatcher government and distinguishes between consultation, bargaining and negotiation. The paper identifies the important divide between the relatively few groups with privileged status and the greater number of groups who find themselves consigned to less influential positions. The discussion revisits the insider/outsider typology often used to differentiate interest group strategies and status in policy development. It suggests that the insider group term is associated with a particular style of policy making, and offers amendments to the existing use of the terms to avoid the difficulties which occur from the conflation of group strategy and group status.