Deliberative polling

The participants (approximately 200-500 people) are first polled by questionnaire on the targeted issue(s). After this baseline poll, briefing materials are sent to these participants and made public. The participants are then gathered for a few days to discuss the issues in more depth. The participants engage in dialogue with an expert panel, using questions that the participants develop with trained moderators.  After the deliberation the participants are asked the original polling question...
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Deliberative mapping

Involves both experts (around 20) and members of the public (public panel-up to 40 people from varied backgrounds) and combines a variety of approaches to assess how these participants rate different policy options against a set of defined criteria. The public panels and the experts consider the issue both separately from one another and at a joint workshop. This allows both groups to learn from each other without the experts dominating. The emphasis of the process is not on integrating exper...
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Consultations

Public consultation is a process by which the public's input on matters affecting them is sought. Its main goals are in improving the efficiency, transparency and public involvement in large-scale projects or laws and policies. It usually involves notification (to publicise the matter to be consulted on), consultation (a two-way flow of information and opinion exchange) as well as participation (involving interest groups in the drafting of policy or legislation). Level of Involvement: ...
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Planning for real

This approach requires a 3D model of a local area to be developed for communities to add suggestions of how they would like to see their community develop. They then prioritise these in groups and create an action plan for decision-makers to take away. This approach requires a trained facilitator to extract participant's knowledge of living in the area and to make suggestions by placing cards directly on the model. These are both ready-made cards with comments/suggestions or blank cards for p...
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Participatory strategic planning

The Participatory Strategic Planning process is a consensus-building approach. It helps a community come together in explaining how they would like their community or organisation to develop over the next few years, working in partnership with decision makers from the start. It consists of four stages: The community determines their vision for the future of the organisation or community; The community describe the obstacles that are preventing them from reaching their vision with decisio...
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Participatory appraisal

The term Participatory Appraisal describes a range of approaches to enable local communities to identify their own priorities and make their own decisions about the future. The organising agency facilitates, listens and learns rather than control the process. There is an onus on the agency to support the process eg provide resources and through time, to train ‘champions’ from the local community on the participatory appraisal approach. This enables local people to engage with existing communi...
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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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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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