Being part of a formal consultation

Being part of a formal consultation

Formal consultations are often carried out when a matter of importance has to be decided. This might be a church building/restructuring project, the appointment of a new Vicar, or creating a parish plan. Involving children and young people in the formal consultation process offers a fantastic opportunity for their views and opinions to be expressed and taken into consideration - after all, they too will be affected by the decisions and outcomes.

Feeding the voice of children and young people into a formal consultation takes a little organising - but it can be done as creatively as you like.

Before the consultation

  • Decide who to consult - children and young people in the church? The local school? A uniformed organisation with close links to the church?
  • Decide on a suitable time and venue and send out invitiations. Make sure the invitation says what the consultation is about.
  • If necessary, obtain any permissions or consents for the children/young people to take part.
  • Always follow any safeguarding policy your church has in place.

A suggested outline for a consultation

  • As the participants gather have some food and snacks available.
  • Play an ice-breaker activity to introduce the theme of the consultation.
  • Outline the consultation and the areas on which you want to hear the participants' thoughts/ideas/suggestions.
  • Use one of the Listening Ideas to develop the conversation and gather thoughts/ideas/suggestions. Keep the group focusssed on the task.
  • Towards the end of the session, check with the group that you have recorded what they want to say, and whether there is anything else they want to add.
  • Thank everyone for taking part. Tell them what will happen next (who will hear what they have to say, what other parts of the process need to happen).
  • Once the full consultation has finished, feedback the results to the children and young people.

Reflect on the process

  • How did it go for you? for the participants?
  • What worked well? not so well?
  • What might you have done differently?
  • What did you find challenging?
  • How did it make a difference to the Consultation?
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