Panels are made up of people who have experience and/or knowledge of a particular subject. They are used when specialised input from service users, clients and/or carers opinions are required. A series of questions and prompts are prepared in advance which a trained facilitator will use to capture and learn about the panel’s experience/knowledge of the topic area. The panel will debate and discuss various courses of action.
Small groups work best (8 -12) people. It is common for expert panels to meet four to six times a year.
- Representative of target community;
- Useful for sourcing views on resource allocation and priority setting;
- Receive information on issues which should facilitate development of more considered views.
- Motivation of panel members may be difficult to maintain;
- The questions are set by decision-makers and not the participants;
- Confidentiality may be difficult to ensure;
- Can be time consuming and difficult to organise;
- May be an issue about the type of people who tend to be recruited on to such panels, i.e. not the marginalised or excluded;
- Panels may become stale if there are no mechanisms to facilitate turnover of membership.
- User perspective;
- Sounding board on which to test plans and ideas;
- Relatively quick feedback;
- Continuing dialogue with users.
- Statistical information due to small sample.
Level of Involvement: Engaging