Before you get started
Before you get started on your community consultation you should:
- Define the scope and aim of your consultation. This includes things like the topic you would like to discuss, what sort of information you are going to exchange, and what you plan to do with the information you gather.
- Think about your target group. Identify the stakeholders who might have the information you want/need. Try and find the balance between gathering a broad range of perspectives and not over stretching your resources. Remember, you need to be able to collate and make sense of all of the information you collect.
- Plan how you are going to collect, organise and store the data collected. You could write down minutes of your consultations, use spreadsheets or (with the permission of your participants) use video or audio recordings.
- Think about how you will structure your consultation. Sessions might be large and few, or small and many. They could be held face-to-face, online, or a mix. Sometimes it can be simpler to go to existing groups rather than create your own separate event.
- Consider things like age, geographic location, access barriers and cultural safety when thinking about the type of consultation you want to conduct. This will help you select a time, date and location that will be easily accessed by your target group.
- If you want to consult with a community about access to public transport, your target group will include local public transport users. If you plan your consultation session after the last bus service of the afternoon, or at a location without public transport nearby, you are unlikely to receive the input you need to give you a clear picture of needs.
- If you identify any barriers to participation in your consultation, think about how you might overcome these. Consider providing child minding, transport to and from the session, or sessions outside of work hours.
- Plan how you will let people know about your consultation and invite them to participate. Think about your target group and where they get their information so that you can choose the form of advertisement that will work best. It could be a newspaper advertisement, flyer on the notice board at the supermarket, a Facebook post, or a combination of methods.