Preparing for the workshop

Planning the final workshop takes considerable resource and time and should be done well in advance: early preparation is vital.  PSPs should have made decisions about the workshop and be in a position to invite participants at least eight weeks before the workshop, to allow people to make arrangements to be able to attend.   

It is important for the Steering Group to think in advance about how best to support patients and carers, both with information before the workshop and with any support that they might need on the day.  The Autism PSP provided detailed photo instructions to the workshop venue.  The Steering Group also thought carefully about what requirements and sensitivities people with autism might have during the workshop, so that arrangements could be made to help them feel comfortable and able to contribute effectively.

PSPs will need to consider reimbursement of travel expenses, accommodation if needed, payment for the time of patients/carers and provide expenses claim forms on the day of the workshop.  When inviting participants it is important to be clear about what costs will be covered.

Once participation has been agreed, the following should be prepared before the workshop, with guidance from the JLA Adviser.  It is helpful to create a detailed checklist of what will need to be done before the workshop.

A confirmation email, sent a month in advance, containing:

  • an Interests and Needs form for participants, which also requests a short biography.  This can also include a request for permission to take photos or video during the workshop if needed and to ask about dietary, access and any other requirements.  This could also be done by setting up an online form.

A reminder email sent a week in advance, containing:

  • the workshop agenda (see the Key Documents section of the Mesothelioma PSP)
  • a plain language guide to the final workshop (see the Key Documents section of the Adult Social Work PSP)
  • a participant worksheet showing the shortlist of questions (not in ranked order, with an alphabetised reference for each question).  This should include clear instructions asking participants to rank all of the questions before the workshop, bring the list with them, and be prepared to discuss them on the day (see the Key Documents section of the Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss PSP).  
  • a list of workshop participants, including their biographical details (some people may feel more comfortable participating and less intimidated if they know some simple, friendly details about the participants beforehand)
  • clear directions to the venue
  • a glossary for participants if this is felt appropriate, although it may not be necessary as accessible language should be used throughout.

A briefing paper for the facilitators (prepared by the JLA Adviser).

  • A briefing call should be carried out by the JLA Adviser, with the facilitators, PSP lead and coordinator at least a week before the workshop.

Materials for the workshop

  • one set of A4, landscape cards per small group, showing the questions to be discussed, printed double sided.  To include interim priority setting data and other background information as appropriate on the reverse to help with group discussions (see the Key Documents section of the Schizophrenia PSP).  These should be printed on a different colour of card for each small group.  They should not be laminated (which reflects light).  The font size should make the question and reference letter clear and visible.
  • name badges (with just first and last names, rather than titles, to discourage any perceptions of hierarchy between the participants)
  • register of attendees for people to sign on arrival.  This may be used as a means of collecting consent to being photographed or filmed.  Non-consenting participants should be highlighted to whoever is in charge of photography
  • spare copies of the worksheet, agenda and participant list, along with spare pens should anyone need to complete their rankings on arrival
  • allocation of participants to morning and afternoon small groups, pre-agreed with the JLA Adviser, ensuring a balance of patient, carer and clinician representation and taking into account any sensitivities already known about.  At least one person from each of the morning groups should be in each of the afternoon groups
  • One-page ranking forms for each of the small groups, to be completed by the small group facilitators after each ranking session
  • travel expenses claim forms (ideally with freepost envelopes to return them in)
  • signs to use on the doors of meeting rooms (if required)
  • a workshop feedback form, to be either included in the delegate pack or sent later (JLA Advisers can refer PSPs to an online JLA version of a feedback survey which can be used)
  • some workshops have used additional materials to enhance accessibility, such as coloured tablecloths to assist with the priority setting, a list of the questions on one page of A4 for ease of access, and questions shown on slides during plenary discussions.  The JLA Adviser will discuss these options with the Steering Group during the workshop planning stages.

A draft ‘thank you’ email for use afterwards.

It is important to make the right arrangements for an accessible meeting venue that is located somewhere convenient for people to travel to.  The venue will need to include one main meeting room, set up theatre style with movable seating for all participants, and a rectangular table to one side to accommodate one of the small groups.  Two additional breakout rooms will be needed, as close as possible to the main room, for the other two small groups.  A quiet space within the venue should be identified in case participants need to take a break from the workshop at any time.

Final priority setting workshops typically start with registration at 9.30am and finish at 4pm, so refreshments and lunch will need to be provided throughout.

Steering Groups should decide beforehand how they would like participants to use social media on the day and state this at the beginning of the workshop, particularly whether they will be happy for results to be announced on social media immediately or whether they would like participants to keep the results confidential until a more formal announcement can be made.

There are reports of PSP final workshops on the JLA website that describe how the meeting is organised.