Organising consultation and involvement
To make consultation and involvement successful, there are many factors that must be considered:
• Getting beyond the usual suspects
• Developing contacts
• Working with partners
• Dealing with consultation fatigue
Inclusive consultation and involvement
Depending on what method of consultation you’re using, you will have to think about different aspects of:
Are the premises for consultation events or the format of consultation materials accessible for everyone? Issues can include transport, accessibility of premises and equipment (e.g. computers), or personal care and support for attending events.
Are the formats and language used in communicating accessible for everyone? Issues can include providing easy read or Plain English materials, large font materials, computer software, audio materials etc. Also, remember to make any presentations accessible in terms of language and delivery, as well as technology like induction loops and palantype.
Are we organising things in a way that reflects cultural needs? Issues can include language, dietary requirements, religious observance, different expectations of the ‘right’ way to conduct events and meetings, outreach work to meet communities in their own ‘comfort zones’ etc.
Are we making sure social barriers don’t prevent people from participating? Issues can include access to computers, financial costs of attending events, availability of public transport and childcare etc. as well as local social problems such as territorialism and sectarianism.
Some ways to involve:
• User group / advisory group
• Representative(s) on committee
• Community / interest group advisors
Involvement might include:
• Sharing information
• Asking for views or advice
• Feedback on actions from views or advice
• Don’t consult unless you need to
• Use other people’s data if you can
• Don’t consult the usual suspects / use same people all the time
• Plan consultation well so that you can consult on several issues at once and/or partner with another organisation on a joint consultation
How can you effectively feedback to the people who have participated?
• Local newspapers / newsletters (articles, adverts etc)
• Electronic – emails, your website
• Word of mouth