Planning before you begin your piece of involvement work will give you, and others, the confidence that it will be inclusive, constructive, respectful, well-paced and have integrity. It is important to be clear on what you are trying to do, the timescales and what people can and can’t influence. You should consider who should be involved and how you will include diverse communities. You will also need to be clear about practicalities such as what information is needed, how you will facilitate inclusive meetings and how people are supported and paid expenses.
As you progress, you will want to gather as many views and ideas as possible, from the widest and most diverse group you can. When you meet you will need time to build relationships, trust and effective communication. You will need to agree principles, expectations and outcomes. You may also need to look at how you gather and share information as well as ideas and views from a wider community. Bringing these together and interpreting them transparently gives credibility and allows the best ideas and recommendations to emerge. On longer projects you will also want to review how well the group is working together and make sure everyone feels engaged and heard.
As you draw your involvement work to a close, you will want to be clear about what has been decided and achieved, how (and to whom) you will communicate the outcomes and what will happen next. You will want people to feel good about having been involved and you will want to recognise their contribution so that they know they made a difference.
The document below will guide you through the things you will want to consider at the beginning, during and at the end of your involvement work (you might take a lighter-touch with short, small-scale pieces of work).