Workshop

A workshop is an event at which participants work collaboratively to solve specific project related tasks. Workshops usually involve a large number of participants who can be split into smaller groups of six to 15 participants. A workshop usually led by someone with a lot of experience in the subject being discussed. Workshops are often used in conjunction with other involvement tools in the early stages of a project to help shape a programme of work. Level of Involvement: Type of Inv...
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Steering groups

Steering groups are made up of experts who oversee a project to ensure that protocol is followed and provide advice and troubleshoot where necessary. The members of the steering group can be professionals, service users and carers or other interested members of the public. Their role is to: Provide input based on their direct experience of the topic under investigation; Give strategic direction; Support the project manager. The steering group usually meets at key stages during the...
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Consensus conference

Consists of a panel of people (10-20 service users/carers taking part in their capacity as local people, not as professionals or specialists) who question expert witnesses on a particular topic. A distinctive feature is that the initiative lies with the people - they decide the key aspects of the debate, including choice of questions, selection of witnesses and formulate their own conclusions. Panels members receive a comprehensive information pack, developed by HSC staff, in advance (up to 2 we...
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Future search

Future search is a planning meeting and a way for a community or organisation to create a shared vision for its future. The meeting is task focussed and works best when you want commitment from all stakeholders. It enrols a large group of stakeholders who are chosen because they have power, resources, information on the topic, expertise and are affected by the outcomes. It requires a ‘whole system’ in the room approach. Ideally there are between 60-80 people in one room or 100s in parallel rooms...
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Consensus building/dialogue

This approach is useful when there is a contentious issue or when you wish to build and improve relationships between diverse groups to reach a proactive consensus. It may incorporate a range of approaches which will have dialogue at its core. This is mainly conducted through workshops and meetings to help participants identify common ground and mutually beneficial solutions to a problem. Dialogue involves all stakeholders which must include people who have a concern about the outcome, includ...
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Community planning

Community Planning is not a method per se, it is a government initiative, but it is included here because it demonstrates a way of dealing with the issues surrounding community planning to implement a shared vision for promoting the wellbeing of an area, community cohesion and improving the quality of life of its citizens. It focuses on processes that enable participation; enhance control through shared decision making; and create opportunities to learn, practice, and increase skills. The Commun...
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Citizens’ juries

A Jury (12-16 members), made up of a small panel of independent people who are  non-specialists, carefully examine and discuss an issue of public significance and deliver a “verdict”. They are brought together to examine both written and verbal evidence about different perspectives on the issue they are deliberating on. This will include a full range of opinions, often in the form of worked up options on what should be done about the issue. The Jury will receive information which is presented th...
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Appreciative inquiry

An approach for creating a vision and planning through understanding and appreciating the past, as a basis for imagining the future. This process builds a vision for the future using questions to focus people’s attention on success. Working through stages: Discovery – identification of organisational processes that work well; Dream – envisioning of processes that will work well in the future; Design – planning and prioritising processes, and; Destiny – Implementation. The foc...
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