Workshop best practice

  • Establish a clear structure for the priority setting meeting and the ‘taking turns’ aspect of the feedback – this should help restrict any dominance of particular individuals.
  • Agree ‘ways of working’ (ground rules) at the outset of the meeting (to include aspects of communication and use of jargon).
  • Ensure everyone is aware of the nature of consensus decision making: it requires pragmatism and compromise.
  • Provide biographical information about participants ahead of the meeting.
  • Ensure that all participants are familiar with the items to be discussed – offer them an opportunity to discuss these beforehand with JLA team members or relevant partners.

It is not unusual for participants to suggest merging questions. While some suggestions may make sense, it may also be a means of creating more space in the top 10 for more topics.  This risks creating questions which are overly broad and non-specific.  It should be noted that most questions in the list will have been a result of merging survey responses already.  However, suggestions for merging may also be made because participants can see a genuine duplication which the Steering Group has not previously noticed.  The Steering Group should agree its position on merging and enable the facilitators to manage that discussion consistently.

Similarly, participants may want to suggest ways to reword the questions.  The JLA does not object to this if the rewording does not radically alter the question and all participants agree.  It is up to the Steering Group to agree its position on this in advance of the meeting, so the facilitators can maintain that throughout the meeting.