The deliberative method lends itself to exploring issues which involve complex options or trade-offs, where opinions vary widely, or where it is important to produce an independently-validated summary of participants views.
A sample of people are brought together and become informed about the issue through a series of presentations from individuals with identified perspectives or expert views. Structured discussions focus in on key issues or decision-points and these are facilitated, recorded and analysed by experienced researchers.
This approach can add value as part of public consultation processes. It offers an opportunity to set-out the case for change, options for the future and the process for making decisions – with views direct and unmediated, but considered through a structured dialogue.
Such events also signal that you are in ‘listening mode’ and prepared to discuss face-to-face with local people. Our expertise is in ensuring that:
- They ‘cover the right ground’ and focus on what is possible locally to deliver the best outcomes, and avoid becoming an ideological debate
- Discussion is balanced, so that all views can be heard, understood and tested
- Everyone has the opportunity to contribute, without the meeting being dominated by those with particularly strong views
- The final conclusions take account of all views heard in a rigorous and independent report to inform decisions.