Consensus Conference characteristics
Cost Scale: £80,000 - £100,000
Time Scale: 6-9 months
Consensus Conferences are an in-depth process of public engagement yielding insight into the values and beliefs that inform citizens’ views on issues. Participants go through an intensive process of learning about the issues at hand, developing their thinking. The event itself is open and transparent, allowing insight into participants’ perspectives as they question specialists and gather evidence. The final report is written by citizens, ensuring their views are accurately reflected in outputs.
Consensus Conferences hand over significant autonomy to citizens, allowing them to determine the issues and questions of interest to them. This ensures the perspectives of citizens are reflected in the focus of the conference. Participants are selected to reflect a broad range of demographic groups, encouraging diversity of perspectives. Particpants are also able to develop their own views through discussions with specialists.
Consensus conferences are typically comprised of around 10-20 panellists to ensure in depth discussions between panellists and specialists in the time span. Past this point activities such as reaching a consensus, screening participants and producing the final report become complex tasks.
Consensus Conferences are an in-depth engagement process that delegates decision-making power over the agenda to participants. The process creates strong links between participants as they discuss issues over an extended period of time. The process used to write the final report emphasizes reaching consensus on issues, requiring compromise and a focus on solutions and collaboration.